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Thread: UltraFire UF-T90 (2-4x18650)

  1. #1
    Flashaholic* subwoofer's Avatar
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    Default UltraFire UF-T90 (2-4x18650)

    Recently featured on the CPF DX banner advert, the UltraFire UF-T90 is a compact 4x18650 light with optional handle. This format is appearing frequently now, so how does this one perform?





    Initial Impressions:

    The box was smaller than I expected, and opening the box revealed a nice compact light. The handle adds quite a lot of bulk, but this is relative, as the overall light is nice and compact. The handling is much improved with the handle, so although it adds to the overall size it is worth keeping. If you really need to, the handle can be removed easily using a screwdriver.

    The ‘attack’ bezel around each of the four reflectors might seem a little aggressive, but it is nicely finished with no actual sharp corners, so it is not actually abrasive. It does give good protection to the lenses, especially if you place the light on a surface bezel down. There is plenty of clearance from the surface you put it on to show the light is on, so you won’t forget it is running.

    Placement of the main switch is a little awkward as it is so tight to the handle. With the handle fitted, one handed operation is not easy.



    What is in the box:

    The sturdy cardboard box with obligatory DX SKU number stickers on it.



    A cut-out of closed cell padding holds the light securely.



    The UF-T90 with handle attached and rubberised flat wrist strap. The strap screws either into the end of the handle, or if the handle is removed, it can fit into the screw hole for the handle fixing screw.





    Taking a closer look and looking inside:

    The brand and model are laser etched into the anodised surface.



    The wrist strap provided has a metal screw to fix it to the UF-T90.



    Looking side-on, the handle’s three finger indents are visible. On the far right of the handle you can see the grease surrounding the lanyard attachment threaded hole. (the grease is from an o-ring that was meant to sit between the screw and the handle. This o-ring split the second time I fitted the lanyard)



    The tail has four screws which secure the contact board inside the light.



    The power switch and heat-sink fins.



    The deeply scalloped stainless bezels. All edges are smoothed off so there are no sharp corners to abrade your pocket or any pouch you might carry it in.



    The XM-L U2 LEDs



    Looking into the head and the positive contact ring and the aluminium retaining ring which is the negative contact for the end of the battery tube.



    At the base of the battery tube are the negative contact springs which give an ample leeway for cell length.



    The battery tube has shaping which holds the 4 x x18650 cells in place. It also allows for two cells to be paced in adjacent positions and held securely enough to assemble and use the light. (one cell on its own will slide out of place)



    The threads are well formed standard profile and fully anodised. There is a single o-ring to seal the tube.



    When you switch off the UF-T90 off you are presented with a green afterglow courtesy of the GITD o-rings used to seal the lenses.





    Modes and User Interface:

    There are two basic modes. A user defined constant output and a strobe.

    From OFF, a single press turns on the user defined mode. A single press switches it off.

    From ON, pressing and holding starts the ramping of the output. The time to ramp from maximum to minimum is 3s, there are no pauses at any level and it does not stop at either maximum or minimum.

    The only way to guarantee you have maximum is to partially unscrew the battery tube to lock-out the light and when tightening the tube again the UF-T90 will default to maximum.

    To enter strobe, double click when the light is ON. A single press switches off the UF-T90, but it remembers it is in strobe, so to exit strobe, double click again when it is on, or reset it by locking –out the battery tube.



    Batteries and output:

    Due to the battery tube design, the UF-T90 can run on 2x18650 as a minimum (a single cell is not held in place while screwing the battery tube in) or 3 or 4x 18650. The negative contact springs allow for anything from unprotected to long protected cells to be used.

    The testing was carried out with UltraFire 2600mAh protected red cells.


    To measure actual output, I built an integrating sphere. See here for more detail. The sensor registers visible light only (so Infra-Red and Ultra-Violet will not be measured).

    Please note, all quoted lumen figures are from a DIY integrating sphere, and according to ANSI standards. Although every effort is made to give as accurate a result as possible, they should be taken as an estimate only. The results can be used to compare outputs in this review and others I have published.

    UltraFire UF-T90 I.S. measured ANSI output Lumens PWM frequency (Hz)
    Maximum 1978 200
    Minimum 71 200

    Strobe runs at 10Hz.

    As the UF-T90 utilises an electronic switch, there is parasitic drain to consider.

    In this regard, the UF-T90 excels, with the second lowest parasitic drain I’ve ever measured. After an initial powering up of the circuitry the drain current stabilised at 1.1uA meaning it would take over 1000 years for this to drain the batteries. Parasitic drain this low is negligible and far lower than the cells own internal drain.

    The runtime graph was intended to capture the maximum output; the following output trace is the result.





    The beam

    The indoor beamshot shows the relatively narrow beam but broad hotspot.



    The UF-T90 is bright across the beam’s width, but as the beam is not that wide it seems better suited to mid to long range use. Neither great flood, nor great throw, but it puts out a lot of light.





    What it is really like to use…

    The handle of the UF-T90 is very comfortable to hold and makes long term use easy. The only complaint being the positioning of the power switch, however unless this were moved to the handle itself, the ergonomics of this couldn’t really be improved.



    Shown here next to a couple of protected 18650s, the compact form of the UF-T90 can be appreciated.



    It becomes even more compact with the handle removed. Unfortunately if you fit the lanyard screw into the hole left by removing the handle, it does interfere with the easy operation of the power switch.



    Putting it next to the FandyFire Raging, the UF-T90 has a much smaller profile, with a considerable more compact head.





    The PWM is present in all levels of output, but at 200Hz is not too intrusive. It is a bit laboured if you want different levels as you need to enter the ramping to change brightness. If the last time you stopped the ramping on its way up, and now you want to turn it down, it does remember that it was ramping-up, so you end up having to go to maximum before it ramps-down again.

    This light works best, once you have set the output you want. Reverting to maximum is an easy undo of the battery tube, do it back up and away you go with maximum.

    The bezels may look quite aggressive, but you barely notice them in use and they don’t catch or scratch so are merely an aesthetic feature.

    The UF-T90 certainly ticks several boxes. If you need to constantly change output modes then it is not going to suit, but if you tend to use one output level then the interface here is straight forward, and the UF-T90 is comfortable to hold, has negligible parasitic drain, with a bright usable beam and all in a nicely compact 4x18650 light.


    Test sample provided by DX (DealExtreme) for review.
    Last edited by subwoofer; 03-13-2013 at 12:25 AM.
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  2. #2
    Flashaholic holylight's Avatar
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    Default Re: UltraFire UF-T90 (2-4x18650)

    Thumbs up and thank you. Good to add in manufacturer reported specifications.
    lights: saber1a, v11r, sc52, sc600ii, ea4, tn31, archer1a.



  3. #3
    Flashaholic* subwoofer's Avatar
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    Default Re: UltraFire UF-T90 (2-4x18650)

    Quote Originally Posted by holylight View Post
    Thumbs up and thank you. Good to add in manufacturer reported specifications.
    Just a note on that. I never include manufacturer specifications as this just fills out the review when it is easily found with a quick search. Only occasionally, if there is a key claim made by the manufacturer, do I specifically mention and test this out. My intention it to report back actual findings and user feedback.
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  4. #4
    Flashaholic holylight's Avatar
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    Default UltraFire UF-T90 (2-4x18650)

    Ok thanks.
    lights: saber1a, v11r, sc52, sc600ii, ea4, tn31, archer1a.



  5. #5

    Default Re: UltraFire UF-T90 (2-4x18650)

    Hm. Too bad about the basically nonexisting regulation. Otherwise, this light seems to be a level or two higher in quality than all the XXX-Fire lights I have seen or bought on DX.

  6. #6

    Post Re: UltraFire UF-T90 (2-4x18650)

    first of all thank you for the wonderful review.

    I bought this light yesterday for 4500 pesos ($110 US) here in my country, Philippines.
    I must say that this light is pretty bright and build quality is not too far from other known brands. I just want to know if youre able to measure tailcap current of this light because I dont have DMM here lying around. I wonder if the emitter gets 2A each.

    and also regarding runtime, maybe you can add a graph wherein the flashlight is cooled? because the output drops contineously, maybe its a thermal thing.

    TIA

  7. #7
    Flashaholic* subwoofer's Avatar
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    Default Re: UltraFire UF-T90 (2-4x18650)

    Quote Originally Posted by leejon View Post
    first of all thank you for the wonderful review.

    I bought this light yesterday for 4500 pesos ($110 US) here in my country, Philippines.
    I must say that this light is pretty bright and build quality is not too far from other known brands. I just want to know if youre able to measure tailcap current of this light because I dont have DMM here lying around. I wonder if the emitter gets 2A each.

    and also regarding runtime, maybe you can add a graph wherein the flashlight is cooled? because the output drops contineously, maybe its a thermal thing.

    TIA
    Due to the body design, there is no simple way to include a DMM for current reading drawn from all four cells so I won't be doing that.

    All my runtimes are carried out with active cooling unless stated otherwise. This light was tested with cooling.

    Putting a light into a clamp and leaving it sitting still in static air running at maximum is a very unrealistic test as far as heat goes. Even holding in your hand, your hand will act to cool the light. This is why (unless stated otherwise) cooling is always used for these tests.

    The gradual decline in output is a combination of getting to the point of thermal equilibrium and then the fact that there is no regulation at all in this light.
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  8. #8

    Default Re: UltraFire UF-T90 (2-4x18650)

    Quote Originally Posted by subwoofer View Post
    Due to the body design, there is no simple way to include a DMM for current reading drawn from all four cells so I won't be doing that.

    All my runtimes are carried out with active cooling unless stated otherwise. This light was tested with cooling.

    Putting a light into a clamp and leaving it sitting still in static air running at maximum is a very unrealistic test as far as heat goes. Even holding in your hand, your hand will act to cool the light. This is why (unless stated otherwise) cooling is always used for these tests.

    The gradual decline in output is a combination of getting to the point of thermal equilibrium and then the fact that there is no regulation at all in this light.

    Thank you for that info. Btw ive taken a picture of the driver, maybe there's a way to mod it for it to become regulated? possible?
    and also ive removed all the lens of the four emitters, do you think im getting a lumen increase? i dont need waterproofing that's why i remove it and also I bought this light for its lumen thing.


  9. #9
    Flashaholic* subwoofer's Avatar
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    Default Re: UltraFire UF-T90 (2-4x18650)

    Quote Originally Posted by leejon View Post
    Thank you for that info. Btw ive taken a picture of the driver, maybe there's a way to mod it for it to become regulated? possible?
    and also ive removed all the lens of the four emitters, do you think im getting a lumen increase? i dont need waterproofing that's why i remove it and also I bought this light for its lumen thing.
    I suspect you would need to replace the driver for one designed to be regulated. If you are up to modifying it please post the details and results of the modification.

    Removing the lenses will increase output by ~5-10% (depending on the quality of the glass and its coatings). This will not be visible. Removing the lenses exposes the reflector surfaces to dirt and damage from cleaning so in a very short time, you will have reduced the output even more than having the lenses in place due to reflector degradation. I would keep the glass in place. If the lenses get dirty it is easy to clean them without damage, the same is not true of the reflectors.
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  10. #10

    Default Re: UltraFire UF-T90 (2-4x18650)

    I just ordered the new version of this, it now has the XML2-U2 emiter so I guess I'll see how it goes. The description all sounds like the changed the mode so you can long press to go directly to high.


    I ordered about 3 weeks ago, so hopefully it will be here soon.

  11. #11

    Default Re: UltraFire UF-T90 (2-4x18650)

    Quote Originally Posted by msg1285 View Post
    I just ordered the new version of this, it now has the XML2-U2 emiter so I guess I'll see how it goes. The description all sounds like the changed the mode so you can long press to go directly to high.


    I ordered about 3 weeks ago, so hopefully it will be here soon.

    After waiting for about 30 days, I finally got the light, nuch my disappointment it is no XML2 but XML. It is bright but it appears to be the exact same as the first release but a SKU number change

  12. #12
    Flashaholic* subwoofer's Avatar
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    Default Re: UltraFire UF-T90 (2-4x18650)

    Quote Originally Posted by msg1285 View Post
    After waiting for about 30 days, I finally got the light, nuch my disappointment it is no XML2 but XML. It is bright but it appears to be the exact same as the first release but a SKU number change
    If the description for the light you ordered said XM-L2, then contact the seller. You should get what you ordered.
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  13. #13

    Default Re: UltraFire UF-T90 (2-4x18650)

    cool reveiw, i wonder if that driver could be used in a skyray king light.

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