Warning: pic heavy, as usual.
The T60CS is a new high-output, 3xXM-L, 3x18650 flashlight from Sunwayman. Let's see how it compares to other recent lights in this class that I've reviewed recently ….
Manufacturer's Specifications for the T60CS:
- LED: Three Cree XM-L U2 LEDs
- Soft-contact Side Switch:
- One Turbo mode, Three modes constant output and hidden Strobe, SOS (below are output and runtime details by using 3*18650 2600mAh batteries):
- Turbo Mode: 2100 Lumens (for safety’s sake, after 5 minutes’ turbo mode, the light will go to High mode automatically to avoid over-heat)
- Three constant output modes: 1680Lumens (2hrs) – 360Lumens (9hrs) - 20Lumens (60hrs)
- Strobe: 2100 Lumens, SOS mode
- Constant current circuit, constant output
- Effective range of 372.5 meters
- Uses three 18650 or six CR123A (16340) batteries
- Working voltage: 12.6-25.2
- Low-voltage indicator lamp
- Three-hole high quality metal smooth reflector maintains great throw distance and spread with an ideal beam pattern
- Dimensions: 146mm (length) x 60mm (head diameter) x 44mm (tail diameter)
- Weight: 341g (battery excluded)
- Aerospace-grade aluminum alloy, stainless steel retaining ring on the head
- Military Specification Type III- hard anodized body
- Waterproof, in accordance with IPX-8 standard
- Ultra-clear tempered glass lens resists scratches and impacts
- Accessories: holster, O-ring
- MSRP: ~$205
Final shipping packaging wasn't available when my sample was sent out. Included with mine was a holster, wrist lanyard and extra o-rings (not shown in the pic above). A copy of the manual was supplied electronically, but I am sure that will be included in the shipping version.
From left to right: AW Protected 18650; Sunwayman T60CS, Nitecore TM11, Thrunite TN30, Xtar S1, Olight SR92, Sunwayman M60C.
All dimensions are directly measured, and given with no batteries installed:
Sunwayman T60CS: Weight: 338.9g (est 477g with 3x18650), Length: 145.0mm, Width (bezel): 60.0mm
Thrunite TN30: Weight: 468.2g (est 620g with 3x18650), Length: 179mm, Width (bezel): 64.3mm, Width (tailcap): 49.0mm
Xtar S1 Production: Weight: 876.0g (est. 1028g with 3x18650 protected), Length: 240mm, Width (bezel): 83.4mm
Nitecore TM11: Weight: 342.6g (476g with 8xCR123A), Length 135.3mm, Width (bezel): 59.5mm
Foursevens S18: Weight: 700g (800g with 6xCR123A), Length: 233mm, Width (bezel) 63.0mm, (tailcap) 25.6mm
Olight SR51: Weight: 405g, Length: 190mm, Width (bezel) 62.0mm
The T60CS is fairly compact for this class of light – a bit longer than the TM11, it is still shorter than all the other multiple-emitter lights in my collection.
Anodizing is the traditional dark gray natural finish of Sunwayman lights – very high quality, with no chips or damage on my sample. Labels were sharp and bright white against the dark background. No real knurling as such, but there are fine ridges along the handle, as well as number of indentations over the body and head. Overall, I would describe the grip as fairly good.
Screw threads are anodized for head lock-out. Threads are square cut, and seem of good quality. Could use a little lube, though (mine came very dry).
Light has a scalloped aluminum bezel. Scroll down for more details on the reflector.
Rather than a control ring, the T60CS is controlled by an electronic switch in the head (under a rubber button cover). Switch feel is good for this type of switch, with a definite "click" upon activation. Scroll down for a discussion of the UI.
The T60Cs uses a metal battery carrier that holds 3x 18650 cells or 6x CR123A. The positive contact plate is slightly raised, so all types of 18650 cells should work fine (i.e., true flat-tops, wide and small button-tops). Longer cells may be a bit tight, but my protected 3100mAh cells all fit. The carrier can be inserted either orientation into the handle.
The T60CS can use the optional charging cradle-dock sold by Sunwayman. The way this works is that the center and outer metal areas of the base are connected to the positive and negative terminals of the carrier (note center spring and metal contact disc inside the light). You can thus charge your batteries right inside the light, if you get this charging stand.
To help protect against accidental shorting of the batteries, the center positive terminal is recessed by over half a centimeter. However, as the bare metal is exposed, it is still possible to short the batteries. I strongly recommend Sunwayman supply some sort of non-conductive cover for the center contact when the light is not being charged (or the user fashion something themselves). As it stands right now, you could potentially short the batteries if you carried the light in a pocket with metal keys, etc.
I understand there is some sort of fuse in the battery carrier to help prevent a catastrophic outcome from accidental shorting, but I don't recommend you rely on that. Also, any such fuse is not user-replaceable, so you would need to get a whole replacement carrier if were tripped accidentally.
The light can tailstand, but is a bit wobbly.
The T60CS uses an over-lapping well design for the 3 XM-L emitters, similar to a number of other lights. In keeping with the overall length, I find the emitter wells are slightly deeper on the T60CS than the Nitecore TM11, but not as deep (or overlapped) as the Thrunite TN30.
T60CS on the left, TN30 on the right:
T60CS on the left, TM11 on the right:
Scroll down for beam pic comparisons.
With the head fully-connected against the handle/battery carrier, turn the light off/on by the electronic clicky switch (i.e., press and release).
First time you activate the light, it comes on in Turbo mode. Change output modes by pressing and holding the switch. The light will cycle between constant output modes in the following order: Turbo > Hi > Med > Lo, in repeating order. Let go off the switch to select the mode you want.
Light has mode memory, and will retain the last constant output used when turning off and on.
There are a "hidden" strobe and SOS mode, activated and double-clicking the switch rapidly. On first double-click you get strobe, on second double-click you get SOS. Single click to turn off. Light returns to the memorized constant output when clicked back on.
As this is an electronic switch, a standby current is required (see below for measurements). To reduce the risk of accidental activation, Sunwayman provides a switch lock-out mode. After waiting a minimum of 7 secs with the light off, do a quick click followed immediately by a press-hold. After 1 sec, the light will shut off and cannot be re-activated until the lockout is deactivated. To restore full functioning, double-click the switch followed by a press-hold. Alternatively, you can twist the head to physically lock out the light (i.e., no current).
Note that you have to be really quick on the press-hold to engage the lock-out mode (basically, you have to do the click, press-hold as fast as you possibly can). If you hesitate for even a fraction of a second between the two, you will instead just enter regular mode-changing.
There is a secondary red LED just below the switch, which will warn you when the batteries are running low (i.e. the red light will flash). This is particularly helpful on the Lo/Med modes, where you have relatively little warning (in terms of dimming light output - see runtimes later in this review).
For information on the light, including the build and user interface, please see my new video overview:
As always, videos were recorded in 720p, but YouTube typically defaults to 360p. Once the video is running, you can click on the configuration settings icon and select the higher 480p to 720p options. You can also run full-screen.
There is no sign of PWM on any level – I believe the light is current-controlled.
I did detect some high-frequency noise on Turbo and Hi (around the 8.7 kHz range), but was unable to detect it on Med/Lo (although it may still be there at an undetectable level in my setup). In any case, this is not detectable by eye, and it not a concern.
I also detected some audible hum on the Hi mode, when switching between levels. This is generally believed to be due to inductor whine, and can be highly variable between samples of a given model. However, turning the light off and back on in Hi mode restored silent operation, so I am not clear as to the source of the hum during mode switching.
Strobe is a standard "tactical" high frequency strobe, measured at 12 Hz.
Due to the electronic switch, the T60CS will always be drawing a small current when the body/carrier is connected to the head.
I measured this regular standby current as 2.25mA initially, which is rather high. However, after about 5 secs or so, the current dropped down to 20uA on my sample. Hopefully it stays at that level - at a sustained 2.25mA, it would drain 18650s within weeks. At the seemingly final standby current of 20uA though, you would have decades before the cells would be drained, in theory (i.e., for batteries in series, total current capacity is the same as an individual cell – so 2600mAh cells would provide just under 15 years before the cells were fully drained).
As mentioned previously, Sunwayman also provides a lock-out mode that is activated by a quick click followed by a sustained press. Normally, standby currents are lower in lockout modes. Sunwayman reports the standby drain is below 50uA in this mode – but seeing as how I measured the regular mode at 20uA after a few seconds, I don't know if it drops any further. Either way, it is negligible for the cells, and not a concern.
But as with all lights with electronic switches, I recommend you lock the head out when not in use (i.e. a quarter turn loosening of the head).
Each emitter was well-centered in its own reflector well – but the wells overlap with each other to some degree. Expect some peripheral artifacts in the spill, but these shouldn't be too bad given the relatively shallow reflectors.
And now, what you have all been waiting for. All lights are on their respective max rechargeable battery sources (i.e., 18650s), 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.
Output level on Turbo is quite high (scroll down for my lumen estimates). Although there is some "daisy flower" effect in the spillbeam (due to the overlapping well design), this isn't very severe – it is less than most lights in this class.
To show the spill a little better, here are some side shots on my famed "integrating carpet".
The T60CS is not quite as wide in spill as the original Nitecore TM11 - but it is still pretty broad.
For outdoor beamshots, these are done in the style of my earlier 100-yard round-up review. Please see that thread for a discussion of the topography (i.e. the road dips in the distance, to better show you the corona in the mid-ground). Please ignore the red-tint in the lower-right corner these shots (I was wearing a brighter-than-usual red headlamp during this excursion ).
Here are zoomed-in pics of the hotspots:
I know it can be a bit hard to compare, given the slight variation in angling of the lights. But as you can probably tell, the T60CS is not as much of a thrower as the TN30, but it does throw better than the Nitecore TM11.
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 devised a method for converting my lightbox relative output values (ROV) to estimated Lumens. See my How to convert Selfbuilt's Lightbox values to Lumens thread for more info.
Throw/Output Summary Chart:
My summary tables are reported in a manner consistent with the ANSI FL-1 standard for flashlight testing. Please see http://www.flashlightreviews.ca/FL1.htm for a discussion, and a description of all the terms used in these tables.
Turbo output is quite high – second only to my Thrunite TN30 among the 3xXM-L class, according to ANSI-FL1 measures at 30 secs. Of course, the runtimes will tell you more about how they really compare (scroll down and see).
Given the relative similarity to the shallow reflector design of the TM11, throw remains toward the lower end of this group (but is still quite acceptable).
Note: All my 18650 runtimes are done using AW protected 2200mAh.
The Thrunite TN30 does have a slight advantage in overall output on its max setting, but I will leave it you to decide how significant the differences in the above curves are. Interestingly, the Hi level of the T60CS is about the same as the Turbo of the Nitecore TM11.
One notable feature – the T60CS is slightly more efficient than the TN30, at all comparable output levels.
Note also that the step-down from Turbo seems to be timer based (i.e., steps down after exactly 5 mins).
Here is a comparison the various lights, on Max, in an estimated lumen output scale:
Due to the overlapping reflector design, there are some artifacts in the periphery of the spillbeam (as with other lights that use a similar design). But I find them relatively minor in this case.
Due to the electronic switch in the head, the light has a stand-by current when waiting to receive a button press. The eventual current is very low (20uA), but I did detect an early 2.25mA drain upon initial connection. Assuming the drain remains at 20uA long-term, this current is negligible. Note there is also a switch lock-out mode (also reported as <50uA, according to Sunwayman). Either way, this would result in several years/decades before the cells would be drained, so it is not a concern. Note that you can completely break this current by loosening the head from the body.
Light uses a battery carrier, and very long or wide cells may be a bit tight. But all cells I tested worked in the carrier, including protected flat-top cells.
Because the T60CS supports the optional Sunwayman charging cradle/dock, there are exposed contacts on the base that are directly connected to the battery carrier's terminals. There is thus a risk of shorting the cells if you bridge the tail contacts with a metal object. While Sunwayman has recessed the center positive contact to reduce this risk, it is still a concern if you were to rest the light on an irregular metal surface (or if it comes into contacts with keys in a pocket, etc.). I recommend Sunwayman (or the end user) fashion a non-conductive "plug" to cover the inner terminal, to reduce this risk. Note that there is a fuse inside the battery carrier to help protect against accidental shorting, but triggering this fuse would require a complete replacement of the carrier. This is a potential long-term reliability issue, as you may not be able to get a replacement carrier in the future.
I don't recommend you run the light for extended periods on Turbo/Hi with primary CR123A cells. After my max CR123A runtime, all six of my Titanium Innovation cells came out of the light with at least partially or fully split body labels. In my experience, that usually indicates a lot of heat build-up. It is possible that some other brands would have tripped their PTC safety circuits by that point.
The T60CS is an impressive 3x XM-L high-output light from Sunwayman. While this is starting to become a more crowded space, the Sunwayman offering has excellent performance in a quality build.
Output/runtime performance was excellent, consistent with good current control circuitry. Stabilization was quite good as well, with perfectly flat regulation on Med/Lo, and a reasonable period of flat regulation on Hi/Turbo. Note there is a secondary red LED to warn you when the batteries are nearly exhausted. Of note, the T60CS supports both 3x18650 and 6xCR123A.
In terms of the interface, the switch worked well in my testing. The sustained standby drain seems to be negligible, and this can be cut completely by twisting the head to break contact. There is also a lock-out mode, to prevent accidental switch activation when fully connected.
The beam is reasonable for the type and class of light, with plenty of throw and spill. There is always something of a trade-off here in 3x emitter lights – while deep overlapping reflector wells can give more throw, the shallower wells used here help reduce spillbeam artifacts. A reasonable trade-off, in my personal view – I personally prefer the more even beam of these shallower refelctors.
The T60CS is certainly a strong contender in the high-output arena, with the second-highest overall output of all the 3x XM-L lights I've tested. My only real concern comes from the exposed contacts on the tail. While it is nice that there is an optional charging cradle/dock, there is a potential risk of shorting your batteries with this setup (or at minimum, tiggering the carrier fuse and permanently destroying it). I strongly encourage Sunwayman (or the end user) to fashion a non-conducting "plug" for the inner center contact, to minimize this risk during regular handling and use.
UPDATE July 16, 2012: Sunwayman informs me they are now working on just such a plug for the tail.
T60CS provided by Sunwayman for review.