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Thread: Sunwayman M20A (2xAA, XP-G R5) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

  1. #1

    Smile Sunwayman M20A (2xAA, XP-G R5) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

    Warning: pic heavy, as usual.



    Specifications:
    • CREE XP-G R5 LED
    • Three levels of constant output: 220 Lumens (2.5 hrs), 70 Lumens (9 hrs), 4 Lumens (200 hrs),
    • Strobe mode: 220 Lumens
    • Digital Sensor Magnetic Control system, a slight twist of the Rotator Ring selects the different modes
    • Fully-regulated constant current circuit, constant output
    • Uses two 1.5V AA (Alkaline, Ni-MH, Lithium) batteries
    • Good quality reflector maintains both great throw distance and spread, as well as perfect beam pattern
    • Dimensions: 150.1mm (length) x 23.2mm (head diameter)
    • Weight: 75.4g(battery excluded)
    • Aerospace-grade aluminum alloy
    • Military Specification Type III Hard-Anodizing
    • Waterproof to IPX-8 standards
    • Ultra-clear toughened glass lens resists scratches and impacts
    • Able to tail stand for use in "candle mode"
    • Accessories: metal clip, O-ring, rubber cap
    • Estimated MSRP ~$75

    Although I have reviewed a number of SUNWAYLED lights (now called SUNWAYMAN), this is my first review of a XP-G R5-equipped light – the 2xAA M20A.




    Packaging is fairly typical, and the light comes with a reasonable number of extras. Inside the cardboard box with plastic insert is the light, manual, warranty card, spare o-rings, extra boot cap, good quality wrist strap, and pocket clip. I would have liked to have seen a belt holster, though.


    From left to right: Duracell alkaline AA, Sunwayman M20A, Nitecore D20, Fenix LD10-R4, Jetbeam Jet-I PRO EX V2, Eagletac P20A2-II.

    M20A: Weight: 74.5 g (no battery), Length 151.1mm x Width 23.0mm (bezel)

    Overall dimensions are about typical for this class of light.





    Build quality is excellent. Note the square-cut threads at both ends of the battery tube. Screw threads are anodized at both the tailcap and head for lock-out. As before, I would like to see a few more threads at the head region of the battery tube.

    The tailcap switch is a typical forward clicky, with good feel. The light can tailstaind.

    The magnetic control ring in the head allows you to choose between output levels. The ring has a good feel, although it can be hard to see (i.e. color matches the rest of the body anodizing)

    Light feels very solid. Knurling is not very aggressive, but there are a lot of body ridge details to help with grip.

    Anodizing is excellent on my sample, no chips in the dark gray natural finish (HA = type III). Note that natural color anodizing is by its nature more variable from sample to sample, and even within the components of a given light.

    Lettering is sharp and clear, nice and bright against the black background.





    As before, the clip seems to be fairly basic. It holds onto the light well, and can be positioned for bezel-up or bezel-down carry in a number of ways. But with all clips of this sort, there is always a risk the light might catch on something and be pulled off. I recommend you use the wrist lanyard if there is a risk of dropping the light. I am disappointed that a belt holster wasn’t included with the light.



    The M20A features the Cree XP-G R5, with a medium textured orange peel (MOP) deep reflector. I am glad to see Sunwayman has made the switch to these newer reflectors.

    Which brings us to the requisite white wall hunting . All lights are on Hi on 2x Eneloop NiMH, about ~0.75 meter from a white wall (with the camera ~1.25 meters back from the wall). Automatic white balance on the camera, to minimize tint differences.













    From now on, all my beamshots will be taken in this standard configuration, to facilitate comparisons.

    As you can see, the M20A has a reasonably smooth beam for this class. There are some minor artifacts in the beam, but these are only noticeable on a white wall at really close distances. Scroll down to my Summary Tables for more specifics on output.

    User Interface

    The M20A has a similar interface to the earlier M20C/M10R and related lights.

    As before, on/off is controlled by the tailcap clicky (press for momentary on, click for lock on). Mode switching is still controlled entirely by the magnetic control ring in the head.

    The four control ring levels on the M20A are Lo – Med – Hi – Strobe, arranged clockwise if you have the light in hand, bezel pointed away from you. The total traverse of the ring is ~1/3 the circumference of the light, so you can switch back and forth with ease one-handed.

    Unlike some control rings, there is no “standby” mode on Sunwayman lights with clicky switches – you turn the light on or off by the tailcap clicky (or by loosening the head to tailcap to lock-out). This is actually a good thing, since standby modes always drain power (i.e. they are electronic switches, and need to have power to operate). Although the standby drain can be minimized, on some lights they are considerable and will drain batteries quickly.

    The control ring has a good feel, with noticeable resistance changes when it falls into place at each level (these are typically called “detents”).

    No PWM

    There is no sign of PWM flicker by eye or with my sound-card oscilloscope on any level. Sunwayman lights thus seem to be current-controlled. This is particularly impressive, given how low the “Moonlight” Lo mode is.

    Strobe



    Strobe was measured at a fairly high “tactical” 17.6 Hz, which is a bit higher than the earlier M20C/M10R.

    Testing Method:

    All my output numbers are relative for my home-made light box setup, a la Quickbeam's flashlightreviews.com 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, except for any extended run Lo/Min modes (i.e. >12 hours) which are done without cooling.

    I have recently devised a method for converting my lightbox relative output values (ROV) to estimated Lumens. See my How to convert Selfbuilt's Lighbox values to Lumens thread for more info.

    Throw/Output Summary Chart:

    Effective November 2010, I have revised my summary tables to match with the current ANSI FL-1 standard for flashlight testing. Please see http://www.sliderule.ca/FL1.htm for a description of the terms used in these tables.



    The max output and throw of the M20A is typical for this class of light. The Lo mode is quite low compared to other makers (i.e. more of a “Moonlight” mode).

    See my runtimes below for info on the relative output levels.

    Output/Runtime Comparison:

    Note: my original M20A sample failed during testing, with only the Hi output runs completed (identified as #1 in the runtimes below). Sunwayman replaced the light with another sample, used to complete the testing (identified as #2). I have left both samples in the results below.












    Output/runtime efficiency is excellent on the M20A, as expected for a good current-controlled light.

    In fact, performance of the replacement M20A sample (#2 above) is simply outstanding on Hi on Eneloop and alkaline batteries. I’ve left the original M20A sample (#1) in the runtimes above, as its performance was more in keeping with a typical light of this class. I would expect a given M20A sample would perform somewhere within this range of performance.

    All-in-all, this is very consistent with Olight/4Sevens performance.

    Potential Issues

    Max output on L91 is lower than NiMH/alkaline. However, all output levels are maintained on L91 lithiums (i.e. many other 2xAA lights loose the lower levels initially).

    The control ring lacks obvious visual landmarks, so it may take you a moment to find it when you want to change modes.

    The circuit on my first M20A sample failed during testing. The head has been returned, and Sunwayman is investigating the source of the problem.

    UPDATE Dec 22, 2010: The issue with my first sample seems to have been tracked down. Apparently, a bad batch of diodes went into a batch of circuits for the M10A, M10R and M20A. The specific units have been pulled from dealer inventory, and are no longer available. As always, anyone who thinks they may have a defective unit should contact the dealer/manufacturer they bought it from.

    Preliminary Observations

    The M20A is another solid offering from Sunwayman.

    The physical design and build is similar across the Sunwayman line – and generally excellent. I find their anodizing to be among the best of the Chinese-made lights. The grip is reasonably good, with a lot of ridges and body details, although I could see how some would like more knurling. As before, I consider the clip to be most effective as an anti-roll device – I wouldn’t trust this design to securely hold the light. In that sense, it’s disappointing that no belt holster was included (although a good quality wrist lanyard does come with it).

    The implementation of their magnetic control ring technology in the 2xAA form factor is consistent with their other lights. While no ring is perfect, the feel of the detents on their lights are good. I just wish it was a little more obvious where the ring was (i.e. may take you a moment to get the right grip).

    I’m glad to see them going with the latest class of emitter (XP-G R5). The beam pattern is good for this class, consistent with other lights.

    And of course, performance is excellent – can’t beat current-control for overall efficiency. I’m particularly impressed to see the ultra-low Lo mode is also current-controlled (that’s not easy to do – few outside of Olight/4Sevens seem able to do this). I like this selection of relative output levels.

    A well thought-out and well built light. Certainly another nice offering in the 2xAA class.

    ----

    M20A provided by Sunwayman and batteryjunction.com for review.
    Last edited by selfbuilt; 03-11-2011 at 10:46 AM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Sunwayman M20A (2xAA, XP-G R5) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

    Written by AardvarkSagus on 12-16-2010 07:01 PM GMT

    Excellent review there as per your usual Selfbuilt. I have a review coming eventually as well, but I need to iron something out with Sunwayman first. I suspect it is similar to what you likely experienced as well. Out of curiosity, did you notice that the threading is completely interchangeable between the M20A and M10R? Makes for a nice little lego setup.
    Written by tandem on 12-16-2010 07:05 PM GMT

    Better output-runtime on max or "high" certainly seems to be a recurring theme in recent AA light reviews. 2 hours of runtime on max (> 150 OTF lumens) or at a very high "high" is a really useful achievement.

    By chance do you have a review of their M10A R5 about to drop in on us?
    Written by JA(me)S on 12-17-2010 07:36 PM GMT

    Wonderful review as usual. It looks as if the clip has additional "ridges" added. If true, and my eyes aren't deceiving me, it looks like it may attach a little more securely - do you think it is any stronger over the previous design? Also, with no intention of taking anything away from this review, it looks like Sunwayman is soon releasing the V20A - have you heard anything about the V series (V10A, V20A, V10R)?

    Thanks, - Jas.
    Full list of all my reviews: flashlightreviews.ca. Latest hobby: whiskyanalysis.com. Latest flashlight review: Thrunite TN42.
    Gratefully accepting donations to my battery fund.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Sunwayman M20A (2xAA, XP-G R5) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

    Written by selfbuilt on 12-18-2010 01:44 PM GMT

    Quote Originally Posted by AardvarkSagus
    Out of curiosity, did you notice that the threading is completely interchangeable between the M20A and M10R? Makes for a nice little lego setup.
    Good catch. Yes, the threading is the same, so you could exchange the heads. Just be careful with the battery voltage - I don't imagine the M20A would take well to 1xRCR. Good catch. Yes, the threading is the same, so you could exchange the heads. Just be careful with the battery voltage - I don't imagine the M20A would take well to 1xRCR.

    Quote Originally Posted by tandem
    By chance do you have a review of their M10A R5 about to drop in on us?
    Sorry, they haven't mention it. Sorry, they haven't mention it.

    Quote Originally Posted by JA(me)S
    It looks as if the clip has additional "ridges" added. If true, and my eyes aren't deceiving me, it looks like it may attach a little more securely - do you think it is any stronger over the previous design? Also, with no intention of taking anything away from this review, it looks like Sunwayman is soon releasing the V20A - have you heard anything about the V series (V10A, V20A, V10R)?
    No, the clip is exactly the same as my M10R (XR-E R2 version). No, the clip is exactly the same as my M10R (XR-E R2 version).

    Don't have any details on a V-series ... I presume I will hear from Sunwayman eventually.
    Full list of all my reviews: flashlightreviews.ca. Latest hobby: whiskyanalysis.com. Latest flashlight review: Thrunite TN42.
    Gratefully accepting donations to my battery fund.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Sunwayman M20A (2xAA, XP-G R5) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

    Written by Burgess on 12-18-2010 04:55 PM GMT

    Good work, SelfBuilt !

    Written by hukka on 12-18-2010 11:44 PM GMT

    I haven't seen this yet mentioned in your other reviews: are you able to reliably select the light level with the selector ring when the light is off
    Written by candle lamp on 12-19-2010 01:20 AM GMT

    Thanks for your great review as usual. Selfbuilt!!!

    From the white wall beamshots, all lights look like neutral white. Right?
    Written by ArmyTek on 12-19-2010 06:35 AM GMT

    Perfect review!
    Written by Triodeman on 12-19-2010 06:53 AM GMT

    Yes, you can, it's almost like a mechanical switch, fully functional even when the light is off!

    I have this light and love every bit of it.

    Quote Originally Posted by hukka
    I haven't seen this yet mentioned in your other reviews: are you able to reliably select the light level with the selector ring when the light is off
    Written by awong1 on 12-19-2010 08:56 AM GMT

    thanks real great review
    Written by rickypanecatyl on 12-19-2010 01:59 PM GMT

    Thanks for the review Selfbuilt!

    2 quick questions:

    I noticed they are claiming 4 lumens for low and you are estimating .3? That seems like a pretty big difference... do think its a misprint?

    I was puzzled by your comment



    The M20A is another solid offering from Sunwayman.
    with the original sample failing during testing. I guess I would understand if it was real extreme testing or there was a logical explanation as to why it would be different from models sold. with the original sample failing during testing. I guess I would understand if it was real extreme testing or there was a logical explanation as to why it would be different from models sold.
    Full list of all my reviews: flashlightreviews.ca. Latest hobby: whiskyanalysis.com. Latest flashlight review: Thrunite TN42.
    Gratefully accepting donations to my battery fund.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Sunwayman M20A (2xAA, XP-G R5) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

    Written by selfbuilt on 12-20-2010 09:19 AM GMT

    Quote Originally Posted by hukka
    I haven't seen this yet mentioned in your other reviews: are you able to reliably select the light level with the selector ring when the light is off
    Quote Originally Posted by Triodeman
    Yes, you can, it's almost like a mechanical switch, fully functional even when the light is off!
    Yes, a good point. You can indeed easily select the level you want from off. Just turn the ring to the right position (easy to do with the clear detents). Yes, a good point. You can indeed easily select the level you want from off. Just turn the ring to the right position (easy to do with the clear detents).

    Quote Originally Posted by candle lamp
    From the white wall beamshots, all lights look like neutral white. Right?
    No, they are all cool white - but I leave the camera set for auto white balance for these shots. I am trying to minimize tint differences in the comparisons, to better show you the beam profiles. Plus the wall in question isn't pure white (Benjamin Moore "White Down", if you are interested No, they are all cool white - but I leave the camera set for auto white balance for these shots. I am trying to minimize tint differences in the comparisons, to better show you the beam profiles. Plus the wall in question isn't pure white (Benjamin Moore "White Down", if you are interested ).

    Quote Originally Posted by rickypanecatyl
    Thanks for the review Selfbuilt!

    I noticed they are claiming 4 lumens for low and you are estimating .3? That seems like a pretty big difference... do think its a misprint?
    I would guess it is actually quite variable from sample to sample - but I only have the one on hand to test. It is very difficult do do current-controlled "moonlight" modes, and I suspect it involves some manual adjustment of each circuit (thus increasing variation). I hadn't taken a reading of the first sample before it failed, but my subject impression at the time was that it wasn't as dim as the replacement (but hard to to know for sure without directly measuring). I would guess it is actually quite variable from sample to sample - but I only have the one on hand to test. It is very difficult do do current-controlled "moonlight" modes, and I suspect it involves some manual adjustment of each circuit (thus increasing variation). I hadn't taken a reading of the first sample before it failed, but my subject impression at the time was that it wasn't as dim as the replacement (but hard to to know for sure without directly measuring).



    with the original sample failing during testing. I guess I would understand if it was real extreme testing or there was a logical explanation as to why it would be different from models sold.
    Actually, circuit failures during testing are not at all uncommon. I've experienced it with almost every major manufacturer, at one time or another. I point it out in the review for full disclosure, but am not overly alarmed by it - unless confirmed by others for a given model. Actually, circuit failures during testing are not at all uncommon. I've experienced it with almost every major manufacturer, at one time or another. I point it out in the review for full disclosure, but am not overly alarmed by it - unless confirmed by others for a given model.

    A good example of the later is the Tiablo E3A - my first sample failed (disclosed in the review), another user quickly experienced a failure, and then my replacement sample subsequently failed! That pointed to a design fault with the originally shipping circuit (consistent with the abnormally low performance I measured and published on each sample before they failed). Tiablo discovered the problem, and another replacement unit from a revised second batch showed much better performance, and no failures.

    In this case, the replacement M20A has excellent circuit performance and no sign of problems as yet. It's possible the first sample was defective to start, but I have left what data I have in the review. Should subsequent failures be noted - or should Sunwayman get back to me with findings on their analysis of my first failed unit - I will of course update the review. Until then, the current sample I have on hand seems to be performing admirably.

    It is always difficult to generalize from one sample - what is important is the general experience of a large number of users. We will see how this case unfolds ...
    Full list of all my reviews: flashlightreviews.ca. Latest hobby: whiskyanalysis.com. Latest flashlight review: Thrunite TN42.
    Gratefully accepting donations to my battery fund.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Sunwayman M20A (2xAA, XP-G R5) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

    Written by candle lamp on 12-21-2010 05:57 AM GMT

    Quote Originally Posted by selfbuilt
    No, they are all cool white - but I leave the camera set for auto white balance for these shots. I am trying to minimize tint differences in the comparisons, to better show you the beam profiles. Plus the wall in question isn't pure white (Benjamin Moore "White Down", if you are interested ).
    Aha! the wall is white down color. Aha! the wall is white down color.

    Yes, I like that lovely color.

    Thanks for your reply & wall color.
    Written by MattK on 12-21-2010 10:47 AM GMT

    Quote Originally Posted by selfbuilt
    Actually, circuit failures during testing are not at all uncommon. I've experienced it with almost every major manufacturer, at one time or another. I point it out in the review for full disclosure, but am not overly alarmed by it - unless confirmed by others for a given model.

    A good example of the later is the Tiablo E3A - my first sample failed (disclosed in the review), another user quickly experienced a failure, and then my replacement sample subsequently failed! That pointed to a design fault with the originally shipping circuit (consistent with the abnormally low performance I measured and published on each sample before they failed). Tiablo discovered the problem, and another replacement unit from a revised second batch showed much better performance, and no failures.

    In this case, the replacement M20A has excellent circuit performance and no sign of problems as yet. It's possible the first sample was defective to start, but I have left what data I have in the review. Should subsequent failures be noted - or should Sunwayman get back to me with findings on their analysis of my first failed unit - I will of course update the review. Until then, the current sample I have on hand seems to be performing admirably.

    It is always difficult to generalize from one sample - what is important is the general experience of a large number of users. We will see how this case unfolds ...
    I can address this actually since we now know more about what happened. I can address this actually since we now know more about what happened.

    This was not the only failure. Basically the factory got a bad batch of diodes that went into a batch of circuits for the M10A, M10R and M20A. The relevant units have been identified, pulled and replaced. No units currenty for sale anywhere should exhibit this problem.
    Written by selfbuilt on 12-21-2010 04:33 PM GMT

    Thanks Matt, good to know the source of the problem has been tracked down. I am glad to see Sunwayman was proactive in getting these samples pulled (Tiablo responded similarly once the E3A issue was identified - distributors stopped selling their defective inventory, and waited for the replacement batch). Another reason why it's good to stick with buying lights directly from the manufacturer and their official dealers.
    Full list of all my reviews: flashlightreviews.ca. Latest hobby: whiskyanalysis.com. Latest flashlight review: Thrunite TN42.
    Gratefully accepting donations to my battery fund.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Sunwayman M20A (2xAA, XP-G R5) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

    The main review post has been updated with the final review text.

    The thread discussions for the last few months have been fully restored from the search engine cache data (thank you tandem!).

    Please carry on!
    Full list of all my reviews: flashlightreviews.ca. Latest hobby: whiskyanalysis.com. Latest flashlight review: Thrunite TN42.
    Gratefully accepting donations to my battery fund.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Sunwayman M20A (2xAA, XP-G R5) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

    Thanks Selfbuilt for this review.
    I am not familiar with Sunwayman lights, this one looks very interesting especially the control ring.
    Who sell them, and are they available in neutral white?

  9. #9

    Default Re: Sunwayman M20A (2xAA, XP-G R5) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by Cemoi View Post
    I am not familiar with Sunwayman lights, this one looks very interesting especially the control ring.
    Who sell them, and are they available in neutral white?
    I believe they are planning a run of neutrals for some of the models, but don't have the specifics. If you search the Marketplace, you'll see dealers who carry them.
    Full list of all my reviews: flashlightreviews.ca. Latest hobby: whiskyanalysis.com. Latest flashlight review: Thrunite TN42.
    Gratefully accepting donations to my battery fund.

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