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Thread: Crelant 7G9 Review (XM-L U2 | 3 x 18650)

  1. #1

    Str Crelant 7G9 Review (XM-L U2 | 3 x 18650)

    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?


    MFG SPECS
    MSRP: $142USD
    - 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
    - Runtime:
    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.



    BEAMSHOTS
    Indoors (5m)

    High




    Med


    Low

    For details of the above indoor shots and comparo vs. many other lights, please check Epic Indoor Shots Trilogy

    Whitewall Hunting
    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):




    RUNTIME
    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).]

    [NEW 7/3:



    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.]


    INITIAL CONCLUSION
    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:

    turboBB-licious

    • 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)



    turboBB-cautious

    • no memory for output levels
    • questionable durability of anodization
    • larger batteries will have fit issues in the tube
    • mushy rubber tailcap cover feel



    turboBB-wishes


    • 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)
    • holster




    7G9 GALLERY



    =======
    Disclosure: 7G9 provided by md-lightsource for review.
    Last edited by turboBB; 07-05-2012 at 10:27 AM. Reason: Whitewall shots added

  2. #2

    Default Re: Crelant 7G9 Review (XM-L U2 | 3 x 18650)

    Thanks for the review turbo.

    Been skulking about for a few days, looking for a new light (thrower) for my boat. Read selfbuilt's thorough review of the TN31 yesterday.

    Introduced to CPF by a friend who brought his new T40CS fishing/camping recently. Nice forum gentlemen - I can see it's gonna cost me (I spent a ton retrofitting HID projectors into both cars, so yeah I like light.

    Cheers,

    Phil
    Last edited by Boatingguy; 06-14-2012 at 04:13 PM.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Crelant 7G9 Review (XM-L U2 | 3 x 18650)

    Thx Phil and welcome to CPF!!

    I've now added the Indoor shots (5m) along w/ceiling bounce.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Crelant 7G9 Review (XM-L U2 | 3 x 18650)

    Nice review as always TurboBB,
    Is there any chance for outside shot comparison between 7G9 vs TN31 ? Thanks!

  5. #5
    Flashaholic
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    Default Re: Crelant 7G9 Review (XM-L U2 | 3 x 18650)

    Quote Originally Posted by VIET PRIDE BULLIES View Post
    Nice review as always TurboBB,
    Is there any chance for outside shot comparison between 7G9 vs TN31 ? Thanks!

  6. #6

    Default Re: Crelant 7G9 Review (XM-L U2 | 3 x 18650)

    Creating a thrower review and not including any outdoor shots! lol, the nerve right? Yeah I have that queued up and will post as soon as they are available. Stay tuned... =o)

  7. #7
    Flashaholic* jmpaul320's Avatar
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    Default Re: Crelant 7G9 Review (XM-L U2 | 3 x 18650)

    im sure everyone is wondering the same thing here

    7g9 vs tn31 vs xtar s1?

    thanks for the review

  8. #8
    Flashaholic* madecov's Avatar
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    Default Re: Crelant 7G9 Review (XM-L U2 | 3 x 18650)

    How is heat management?
    In god we trust.........all others are suspects
    There are no problems in life that can not be solved with high explosives or small arms
    Too many new lights to list

  9. #9

    Default Re: Crelant 7G9 Review (XM-L U2 | 3 x 18650)

    As can be seen in the Runtime section I just added, heat should be a non-issue w/the 7G9, max reached thus far was 95. I'm looking for a good spot for long distance shots and hope to have some pics (and perhaps a vid) up this weekend along with the rest of the review.

    Cheers,
    Tim

  10. #10
    Flashaholic* madecov's Avatar
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    Default Re: Crelant 7G9 Review (XM-L U2 | 3 x 18650)

    Shaping up to be a well designed product.
    In god we trust.........all others are suspects
    There are no problems in life that can not be solved with high explosives or small arms
    Too many new lights to list

  11. #11

    Default Re: Crelant 7G9 Review (XM-L U2 | 3 x 18650)

    I agree! I just got one and am waiting for the dark! Well made threads, perfect deep reflector, tiny hotspot with some spill. Great light!

  12. #12

    Default Re: Crelant 7G9 Review (XM-L U2 | 3 x 18650)

    Hey Tim, lookin good so far!

    FYI, I saw that same weird drop as well. I caught it on all of my tests, and it's always at that same spot. I don't know if it's intentional, but it works well as a very subtle low voltage warning, because it's near the end of the run and it's vey consistent.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Crelant 7G9 Review (XM-L U2 | 3 x 18650)

    Thx Bigmac! You're right, I can confirm the drop is the low voltage warning kicking in, I've updated the Runtime chart w/add'l details.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Crelant 7G9 Review (XM-L U2 | 3 x 18650)

    Multiple sections added:

    Design and Features
    UI
    Fit & Finish

    Also, runtime on Medium added.

    Cheers,
    Tim

  15. #15

    Default Re: Crelant 7G9 Review (XM-L U2 | 3 x 18650)

    Whitewall shots added

  16. #16

    Default Re: Crelant 7G9 Review (XM-L U2 | 3 x 18650)

    Just bought one!

    Turbobb: "optimized driver performance (I feel this light can perform better with some minor tweaks)"

    I will see if I "optimized" the drives ;-)

    I will also see if the tail cap boot can be switch out for one that operates better.

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