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Thread: My initial thoughts on my new ZebraLight SC51

  1. #31
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    Default Re: My initial thoughts on my new ZebraLight SC51

    Quote Originally Posted by windmill View Post
    Jbret14 I still haven't got it, (the SC600) since my order is just a week old. :-)

    From posts I've read before buying the light, people say that there is very very little possibility of it turning on accidentally, the switch is much more recessed and also stiffer to activate.

    As you, I was attracted by the slickness, lightweight and portability of the SC51 but, since to me it's very important to have a reliable source of light when I need it, I decided to go with the SC600. (Had to buy batteries and charger but going to get 750 lumens ;-) )

    I've got a H51w headlamp and even if it has a different shape it has indeed once turned on by itself in my backpack.

    I can overlook this flaw on a headlamp as the H51w is, because the intended use is different and usually doesn't require a quick access but a prolonged always on use. (I loosen it before packing it and then tighten it before use)

    I'll surely not buy another Zebralight with a switch so easy to engage, especially if I'm going to carry it in my pocket.

    The great UI makes me hate even more having to twist it before turning it on, it is a nonsense.
    I have considered the SC600 as well since I already have the batteries and charger, currently being used for my JetBeam BC40 and Shiningbeam S-mini.

    I also have a ZL headlight (H501) in which the switch issue is of no concern. I keep this light in a compartment in my toolbox and it never is accidentally activated. It's a GREAT headlight for work or camping.

    I hear ya regarding hating even more to have to twist it first. It kind of defeats the purpose of simplicity.

    Jonny
    "We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light." Plato

  2. #32
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    Default Re: My initial thoughts on my new ZebraLight SC51

    Quote Originally Posted by Fireclaw18 View Post
    If you don't want to use CR123 batteries you can remove the brass insert from the SC80, which makes it noticeably lighter weight.

    Reasons why the SC80 is better than the SC51:
    1. Perfect ergonomics - as a pocket EDC, the SC80 feels great in the hand. It's almost fully knurled so the grip is very secure. And the deeply recessed electronic switch is at just the right position. When you reach into your pocket to grab the SC80 your thumb naturally falls onto the button. No groping around. I own dozens of different EDC sized flashlights, and the SC80 has the best "hand feel" of them all. (this is from the perspective of a light carried loose in the pocket without pocket clip installed).

    2. Faster operation
    - Turning on the SC51 is a two step process. First you have to screw in the tailcap, then flip the light around in your hand and press the button. The tube is not knurled and quite slippery. Even with lockout, it's quite possible for the tailcap to turn in the pocket disabling the lockout causing the light to turn on accidentally. These are non-issues for the SC80.... you just press the button. Tailcap lockout is unnecessary.

    3. Slightly brighter than the SC51 - though not enough to be noticeable.

    4. Better tint - my cool white SC80 has a much better tint than my cool white SC51 did. Of course this would be a non-issue if you get the neutral tint versions.

    5. Current controlled
    - the SC80 is current controlled at all brightness settings. The SC51 uses PWM for some of its lower modes, though I think the PWM is fast enough to not be noticeable to the eye. This should mean the SC80 would have a slightly longer battery life at low modes.


    If I had to pick either the SC51 or SC80 as my EDC pocket light I'd definitely pick the SC80 as it's much better suited for the purpose. Neither light is perfect though. I'd personally prefer an SC80 shaped light, that only uses AA/14500 so would be narrower and smaller. And would use an XM-L for more lumens.
    Thanks for your thoughts. Much appreciated. I can certainly see your arguments for #. 1 & 2

    Jonny
    "We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light." Plato

  3. #33
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    Default Re: My initial thoughts on my new ZebraLight SC51

    Quote Originally Posted by twl View Post
    The reasons to use CR123 or other lithium based batteries are several.

    #1 is that there is more power capacity in a CR123 than an alkaline AA.
    #2 is that the CR123 is better suited to high output, while the alkaline AA sags heavily and does better on low outputs.
    #3 is that CR123 batteries don't leak like alkaline AA.
    #4 is that the 3v voltage of the CR123 battery is closer to the forward voltage of the LED, so it doesn't need as much boost from the regulator, which is tough on batteries(especially alkalines).
    #5 is that CR123 is shorter than AA, so it you like a shorter(but slightly fatter) light, it's good for that.

    NiMh AA solve some of these problems, but not all.
    AA is basically a mass-market consumer battery that makes it easy for beginners to move into the hobby.
    When you get into the more exotic rechargeable Li-Ion batteries with 4.2v and high capacity, then you are really talking.
    A 18650 in an SC600 or the headlamp equivalents are where it's at, if you want to continue with the Zebralight experience.
    Yeah, I agree regarding the 18650. I have a couple lights that use them and I love them. Pound for pound, they are GREAT batteries\lights.

    But I don't think what you are saying regarding the CR123 is true when comparing the SC51 to the SC80. From the ZebraLight specs, they are practically the same. And IF they are the same, it seems the AA would be a better way to go.

    Jonny
    "We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light." Plato

  4. #34
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    Default Re: My initial thoughts on my new ZebraLight SC51

    The SC80 has to default to the longer length to accept the AA battery along with the CR123, so that's why it doesn't seem any different.
    If you look at the SC31 which takes only the CR123, it's a half inch shorter. Same output level.

  5. #35
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    Default Re: My initial thoughts on my new ZebraLight SC51

    what is current controlled anyways?
    aka Edgar Allan Bro, Brosama Bin Liftin, Walter Crunkite, Bro Namath, Teddy Brosevelt, and the Tomahawk Crunkmissile.
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  6. #36

    Default Re: My initial thoughts on my new ZebraLight SC51

    Quote Originally Posted by tobrien View Post
    what is current controlled anyways?
    There are 2 common methods for producing an electronic circuit that can adjust the brightness of an LED light:

    1. PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) - the LED will flash on and off at very high speed. By varying the amount of time it is off compared to when it is on the visible brightness of the light can be adjusted. Fast PWM is imperceptible to the eye. Slow PWM gives a strobing effect when the light is moved quickly or shined on something moving fast, such as a moving fan blade. PWM has the advantage that because the LED is at full power, the tint remains the same no matter what brightness the light is set at. However, PWM is somewhat less efficient than current-control so battery life may not be as long.

    2. Current Control - the LED is dimmed by restricted the amps allowed to get to the LED. Less amps to the LED means the LED will dim. Since the LED remains lit at all times there's no strobing effect like with slow PWM. However, modern LEDs tend to "tint shift" at lower drive currents. instead of a nice pure white at max power, you might get a greenish hue at low power. Current control is generally more efficient than PWM. Current control can be done without fancy electronics using QTC (quantum tunneling composite), a spongy material that acts as a resistor when expanded and has its resistance drop when compressed.

  7. #37
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    Default Re: My initial thoughts on my new ZebraLight SC51

    Quote Originally Posted by twl View Post
    The SC80 has to default to the longer length to accept the AA battery along with the CR123, so that's why it doesn't seem any different.
    If you look at the SC31 which takes only the CR123, it's a half inch shorter. Same output level.
    That's right. I was referring to the actual light output rather than the physical length though. With regards to light output, I see no advantage of a CR123 over the AA, with Zebralight lights. The SC51 is plenty short enough for my taste.
    "We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light." Plato

  8. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by jbrett14 View Post
    I have considered the SC600 as well since I already have the batteries and charger, currently being used for my JetBeam BC40 and Shiningbeam S-mini.

    I also have a ZL headlight (H501) in which the switch issue is of no concern. I keep this light in a compartment in my toolbox and it never is accidentally activated. It's a GREAT headlight for work or camping.

    I hear ya regarding hating even more to have to twist it first. It kind of defeats the purpose of simplicity.

    Jonny
    Yes, to me having to twist the tailcap in order to activate the light with a clicky switch doesn't make sense.

    A clicky has the advantage of being readily available, not being able to directly switch the light on, kind of makes the great UI less appealing.

    As others have said, and if you don't want the bigger SC600, maybe you should consider the SC80 that has the modified switch.


    Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Tapatalk 2

  9. #39
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    Default Re: My initial thoughts on my new ZebraLight SC51

    Quote Originally Posted by windmill View Post
    As others have said, and if you don't want the bigger SC600, maybe you should consider the SC80 that has the modified switch.
    Question for anyone who owns the SC80: Does the brass insert have to be used for BOTH types of batteries?

    I reallize that it was said it could be removed when using an AA battery, to reduce the weight problem, but it appears from the ZebraLight website that it is even used with the AA battery, with the battery sitting in the hollow end. I am guessing this is to prevent it from wobbling around. Yes, no?
    "We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light." Plato

  10. #40

    Default Re: My initial thoughts on my new ZebraLight SC51

    Quote Originally Posted by jbrett14 View Post
    Question for anyone who owns the SC80: Does the brass insert have to be used for BOTH types of batteries?

    I reallize that it was said it could be removed when using an AA battery, to reduce the weight problem, but it appears from the ZebraLight website that it is even used with the AA battery, with the battery sitting in the hollow end. I am guessing this is to prevent it from wobbling around. Yes, no?
    The brass insert can be used with AA. But I've found that the spring is strong enough it isn't really needed. I use mine with AA / 14500 all the time without the insert and I get no battery rattle.

  11. #41
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    Default Re: My initial thoughts on my new ZebraLight SC51

    Quote Originally Posted by Fireclaw18 View Post
    The brass insert can be used with AA. But I've found that the spring is strong enough it isn't really needed. I use mine with AA / 14500 all the time without the insert and I get no battery rattle.
    Thanks Fireclaw, I really appreciate that information. The SC80 is certainly becoming more and more tempting to buy even though I doubt I would ever use it with CR123's.

    Jonny
    "We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light." Plato

  12. #42
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    Default Re: My initial thoughts on my new ZebraLight SC51

    Quote Originally Posted by Fireclaw18 View Post
    Hasn't happened yet.

    The newest Zebralights have a new switch that is smaller, more deeply recessed, and requires much more pressure to cycle (SC600, SC80, H600, H502). The older zebralight models, such as the SC51 you just purchased still use the old switch.

    The new switch is excellent. My SC80 has virtually no chance of coming on accidentally in the pocket and tailcap lockout is completely unnecessary. As an EDC pocket flashlight its ergonomics and feel in the hand are quite a bit better than the SC51. The downside is it's also more expensive and noticeably larger.

    Hopefully Zebralight will come out with an SC52 that would be like the SC51 except with the newer switch. Or perhaps come out with a AA optimized light like the SC80, just much thinner. But for now, such models don't exist.

    Have you tried both the SC80 and the SC51? I have considered both lights, and so far the only reason I liked the SC80 more is that it can use either AA or CR123 batts. But if the switch on the SC51 is likely to come on in my pocket I wont consider it. I was not aware of this so I'm glad I read this thread! I wouldve bought it unknowingly then had to send it back because that is a problem for me. I bought the Spark SL5-210CW, and it has 2 switches that do the same thing, but the side switch is really easy to click and isnt recessed very deeply, so it would be a problem if carried in my pocket.

    I own a SC600, and there isnt a snowballs chance in he!! that it will come in in my pocket due to its recessed design and the amount of pressure required to switch it on. I assumed the other ZL lights were the same.

    But the SC80 is an expensive light for an AA light or a single CR123 light. Whats the beam profile like?
    Last edited by HighlanderNorth; 09-04-2012 at 07:06 PM.

  13. #43
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    Default Re: My initial thoughts on my new ZebraLight SC51

    Quote Originally Posted by HighlanderNorth View Post
    But if the switch on the SC51 is likely to come on in my pocket I wont consider it. I was not aware of this so I'm glad I read this thread! I wouldve bought it unknowingly then had to send it back because that is a problem for me.

    I assumed the other ZL lights were the same.
    It's not "likely" to come on, it WILL come on. It's just a matter of time. So unless you don't mind locking out the light by twisting the end cap, I would NOT buy this light (the SC51). It's a great light, but it does require a lock out if you want to pocket carry it.

    I am glad this thread was helpful to you. It's nice to be able to learn from other folks experiences.

    I too, "assumed the other ZL lights were the same", given that it's been well over a year since the issue (accidental turn on) was first talked about. Not sure why ZL is still selling EDC pocket lights that will accidentally turn on in the pocket. Perhaps they are just trying to unload all the ones they had made, on suckers like me who ASSUME.
    "We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light." Plato

  14. #44
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    Default Re: My initial thoughts on my new ZebraLight SC51

    Quote Originally Posted by Fireclaw18 View Post
    There are 2 common methods for producing an electronic circuit that can adjust the brightness of an LED light:

    1. PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) - the LED will flash on and off at very high speed. By varying the amount of time it is off compared to when it is on the visible brightness of the light can be adjusted. Fast PWM is imperceptible to the eye. Slow PWM gives a strobing effect when the light is moved quickly or shined on something moving fast, such as a moving fan blade. PWM has the advantage that because the LED is at full power, the tint remains the same no matter what brightness the light is set at. However, PWM is somewhat less efficient than current-control so battery life may not be as long.

    2. Current Control - the LED is dimmed by restricted the amps allowed to get to the LED. Less amps to the LED means the LED will dim. Since the LED remains lit at all times there's no strobing effect like with slow PWM. However, modern LEDs tend to "tint shift" at lower drive currents. instead of a nice pure white at max power, you might get a greenish hue at low power. Current control is generally more efficient than PWM. Current control can be done without fancy electronics using QTC (quantum tunneling composite), a spongy material that acts as a resistor when expanded and has its resistance drop when compressed.
    thanks for the explanation!

    so is one better than another in all or certain situations?
    aka Edgar Allan Bro, Brosama Bin Liftin, Walter Crunkite, Bro Namath, Teddy Brosevelt, and the Tomahawk Crunkmissile.
    my lights - review of PrecisionWorks - that's Gucci Mane in my avatar

  15. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by tobrien View Post
    thanks for the explanation!

    so is one better than another in all or certain situations?
    Current control is almost always considered better, as well as more efficient. The two instance where I might consider PWM better is when you have to cough up your hard earned $$ to pay for a light, and then maybe for certain light painting/drawing effects in photography... ;-)

  16. #46

    Default Re: My initial thoughts on my new ZebraLight SC51

    Quote Originally Posted by reppans View Post
    Current control is almost always considered better, as well as more efficient. The two instance where I might consider PWM better is when you have to cough up your hard earned $$ to pay for a light, and then maybe for certain light painting/drawing effects in photography... ;-)
    My opinion in order of preference:
    1. Current control for neutral and warm emitters - most efficient and the tint shift isn't so noticeable with these tints.
    2. Fast PWM for cool white emitters - keeps the pure white look even at low brightness settings.
    3. current control for cool white emitters - most efficient, but tint can shift from pure white towards ugly greenish at low power settings.
    4. Slow PWM - visible ugly strobing can cause headaches especially when the light is moved fast.
    Last edited by Fireclaw18; 09-05-2012 at 05:21 PM.

  17. #47
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    Default Re: My initial thoughts on my new ZebraLight SC51

    I was at a friend's house last night, and I used his Zebralight SC600 for a little while.

    While the switch on the SC600 is definitely improved over the SC51, I still just don't like the UI.
    It's unnecessarily complex, and cumbersome to use. I just don't like it. I understand others do like it, but I don't.
    I gave it another try last night, just to be fair.
    He's a Zebralight dealer, and I could have got one for dealer cost if I wanted it. And I tried. But in the end, I left without getting one. It just doesn't do it for me.

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