Crelant has a history of releasing throwers, with the most recent one in memory being the 7G5 V2 utilizing a more traditional size and form factor with 2 x 18650's in series. They have now uppped the ante with the release of the 7G9 which comes in a different form factor (3x18650 in 1S3P config) featuring a XM-L U2 outputting 1020lms on high and a claimed 700m throw distance.
Let's see if their latest release lives up to these claims shall we?
- CREE XM-L U2 bin LED with 50 000 hour life span.
- Maximum output: 1020 lumen
- High efficient constant current circuit and output-luminance
- Microcontroller drive circuit
- Tactical High Mode
- Working voltage: 2.8 - 6 VDC
- Battery Types Supported: 3 x 18650
High output at 3A: 1020 lumen max for 145 minutes.
Mid output at 2A: 700 lumen max for 220 minutes.
Low output at 0.3A: 138 lumen max for 21 hours
- Mil. Spec. Type 3 hard anodized aircraft grade 7075 aluminum alloy
- Colour: Black
- Ergonomic grip with anti-roll design
- Tactical forward tail cap switch
- High performance aluminum smooth reflector with concentrated beam shot
- Waterproof: IPX-8 Standard
- Lens: Toughened ultra-clear coated and anti-abrasion glass
- Candle function with ability to stand on tail cap
- Dimensions: Length 187mm, Head Diameter 65mm
- Weight: 185g excluding battery
- Accessories: Lanyard, spare o-ring.
PACKAGING / CONTENTS
The 7G9 arrived wrapped in a plastic bag in a rather non-descript cardboard box with a sticker covering the main specs on the side:
Additional accessories included were a spare o-ring and a short lanyard:
CONDENSED VIDEO SUMMARY
Here is a quick high-level video summary of the 7G9 until I can fully flesh out this review:
DESIGN / FEATURES
The 7G9 features a crenellated SS bezel:
While it is easily removable, the glass sits behind a ledge in the head in which case the upper portion is glued and not removable:
Thus therewill be no easy access to it, the reflector or the emitter.
The glass is AR coated and the emitter is perfectly centered:
There are six grooves milled into the cooling fins that provide an alternating pattern:
There is another set of cooling fins in the throat area also featuring an alternating pattern between flat and round surfaces:
The uppermost fin towards the head is where I obtained the highest temp readings.
There are three oval "dimples" spaced evenly around the tube in which are engravings for the company name, model/serial no and battery requirements along w/voltage range:
The texture isn't very deep or aggressive thus doesn't contribute to the grip at all:
This rectangular motif runs around the entire circumference of the tailcap:
And is just sharp enough to provide some grip without really digging into one's skin. It is however glued and thus not easily removable.
There are four "points" on the tailcap end that can be used for strike, glass breakage and tailstanding purposes:
The switch is a forward-clicky that allows momentary activation.
There are four holes in the points that can be used to attach the lanyard, however, due to the bulk the mini-ring must be used. Given I marked up the anodizing (see Fit & Finish section for details) by (carefully) trying to attach the lanyard (per below pic), I didn't attempt to use the ring:
The tube itself is a nice solid chunk of aluminum and arranges the cells in a 1S3P configuration. There are springs in the tailcap end but none on the head thus flat top cells can not be used:
As covered in my video summary, overly large batteries (circumference-wise) can be a very tight fit and shouldn't be used since the rebound rate of the springs may not be sufficient to ensure all the cells are pushed up tight against the positive tip in the head. I'll create a video later covering this aspect.
SIZE & HANDLING
L to R: RL3100 | NITECORE TM11 | Niteye EYE30 | Sunwayman V60C | ThruNite TN30 | Crelant 7G9 | ThruNite TN31
The above shots compares the 7G9 vs. other multi-cell lights that have the batteries in "parallel" config.
This shot covers the 7G9 vs. more convential throwers:
L to R: RL3100 | Dereelight DBS V2 | Lumapower D-65V w/TurboForce Kit | Crelant 7G9 | Lighten7 Max L2A | SureFire M3LT | Sunwayman T40CS
While the 7G9 is a large light, it's not too difficult to handle as the cells are arranged in a side-by-side formation creating a relatively stout profile:
FIT & FINISH
The overall quality of the 7G9 is pretty good. The edges of the bezel have been fully deburred and are very nice smooth (the very tip of the edges however are still sharp):
The anodizing matches on all parts:
(flash intentionally used to help highlight mismatching but none found)
While I didn't not any missing on the edges in the head:
There were some of it missing from the edges around the tailcap:
The sharp edge also really digs into the thumb when operating the switch (at least for my medium-sized hand).
Also, as previously mentioned, I marked up the anodizing by simply trying to attach the lanyard:
So I'm not confident of the anodizing's toughness but time will tell.
The laser engraving is nice and sharp with no blotchiness:
In the few weeks I've had it, I've noticed that the brass seems to be "wearing off" and marked up considerably on the positive connection ring:
I'm uncertain what effect (if any) this will have on the conductivity (increase in resistance maybe?) but I'll report back in my long term update.
The threads are trapezoidal cut and while the head screws on smoothly, there was very little grease applied:
Note: Pic above was taken after I had applied decent amount of grease.
Last but not least, the rubber tailcap cover is overly long and has about 3mm-5mm of play when depressed before it physically touches the tip of the switch:
This creates a mushy feel and makes operational difficult if pressure is not applied from dead on
UI / PWM
It's a little ironic that the User Guide features everything but instructions on usage. None is really needed though since it's very straightforward; there are but 3 output levels (H, M, L) with no blinkies. As the switch is a forward-clicky, momentary activation or a full on/off click will cycle through the levels in that order. Strangely, there is no memory thus the 7G9 will always cycle to the next used mode.
The 7G9 uses PWM on medium and low modes. I am sensitive to PWM but was not able to detect it in use, however there is an audible high-pitched whine in these modes.
For details of the above indoor shots and comparo vs. many other lights, please check Epic Indoor Shots Trilogy
Exposure settings in sequential reading-order from top left: 1/25, 1/100, 1/800, 1/1600 @ f2.9 on AWB (light is ~.4m to wall / camera ~.59m):
The relevant battery stats are provided above each runtime graph along with:
- Voltage of the battery at the start and end of the test
- Current draw as taken right before the test
- Actual runtime using ANSI FL1 (first in HR and then in M so for the RL3100 on High, read this as 4.3hrs OR 260min)
- NEW (as of May 2012): Lumens measured on PVC LMD @ 30 seconds
- Also for High, captured the temperature: ambient, the head at start and the max it reached (fan was used for all bats)
After an initial drop, the 7G9 runs in near perfect regulation for roughly 43 minutes then steps down slightly and starts a gradual decline in output. There is a weird drop out at 183 minutes, I'm unsure of the cause but will check to see if it occurs again w/other batteries. Temperature on this run was a non-issue as the max reached was just shy of 95F.
[NEW 6/25: I made a boneheaded move and conducted runtime on 3 x AW2600 but only one made contact due to the flat tops. But it's interesting nonetheless as it shows the 7G9 can still run on a single cell just with drastically reduced runtime and slightly lower output.
I then conducted runtime w/3 x XTAR 2600 and the curve is as I expected in that it's a shorter runtime than the nickle containing RL3100's but with a slightly higher output duration for a short while of the run. Also, unlike the RL3100's there was no distinct step down when the 7G9 came out of regulation.
I can now confirm that the drop is actually the low voltage warning kicking in w/a series of flashes. I stopped the runtime at this point to take the voltage of the cells (~3.6v for the 1 x AW2600 and ~3.4v for the 3 x XTAR 2600's).]
Just completed testing on medium and the runtime was much longer than Crelant had claimed thus the RL3100 was truncated since it hit up the 10K max logging limit of my Extech HD450. I'll reconduct the runtime in the future but for now, I estimate runtime to be 350min's (but likely a bit longer). Also, at the beginning of the run, it didn't seem like it was hitting max for Medium so I had to cycle through the modes and re-tighten the head to ensure good contact thus you'll see the spike from 0 - 1120 lms. The spike towards the end of the XTAR run is the low voltage indicator (blinking) kicking in.
One thing I was surpised about was the lack of regulation given in High, the 7G9 runs semi-regulated for a period of time.]
The 7G9 is a solid effort by Crelant and faces stiff competition in the formidable TN31 which is the closest competitor in this form factor. While it can't match it in output or throw, the cost of admission into the 55K+ lux category is admittedly lower. I remeasured the lux @ 1m and got 57.2K lux this time around which translates into a 478m beam distance. While this falls short of the 700m claimed by Crelant, it is uncertain at what distance they derived this measurement from and it's very likely the beam has not fully collimated at 1m so I will revisit this measurement at longer distances in the future. For now, here is my take on this light:
- great thrower in a reasonably stout but chunky form factor
- solidly built with good levels of fit and finish (other than the anodizing)
- flexibility to run with less than three batteries (albeit with requisite reduction in runtime)
- no memory for output levels
- questionable durability of anodization
- larger batteries will have fit issues in the tube
- mushy rubber tailcap cover feel
- lanyard lobster claw that actually fits without the use of a mini ring
- optimized driver performance (I feel this light can perform better with some minor tweaks)
Disclosure: 7G9 provided by md-lightsource for review.