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Thread: Nitecore EA8 (XM-L U2, 8xAA) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO and more!

  1. #1

    Wink2 Nitecore EA8 (XM-L U2, 8xAA) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO and more!

    Warning: pic heavy, as usual.




    The Nitecore EA8 "Caveman" is the next step up from the EA4 "Pioneer" that I reviewed recently. Supporting 8x standard AA batteries, the EA8 has marginally more output – but much greater throw – than its petite 4xAA little sister.

    Let's see how it compares to other recent lights in this multi-AA battery class.

    Manufacturer Reported Specifications:
    (note: as always, these are simply what the manufacturer provides – scroll down to see my actual testing results).

    • Utilizes a CREE XM-L U2 LED
    • Output: Turbo: 900 Lumens, High: 590 Lumens, Mid: 180 Lumens, Low: 50 lumens, Micro: 2 lumens
    • Runtime: Turbo: 2hr, High: 3hr 45min, Mid: 14hr, Low: 60hr, Micro: 800hr (based on 8x 1.2V 2400mAh AA)
    • Integrated "Precision Digital Optics Technology" provides extreme reflector performance
    • Boasts a peak beam intensity of 60,000cd and a throw distance of up to 490 meters
    • Innovative single button two-stage switch offers a user-friendly interface (patented)
    • Eight rapidly switchable brightness modes to select from
    • High efficiency circuit board provides up to 800 hours runtime
    • Integrated power indicator light displays remaining battery power (patented)
    • Power indicator’s secondary function displays battery voltage (accurate to 0.1V)
    • Reverse polarity protection prevents damage due to incorrectly inserted batteries
    • Stainless steel retaining ring protects the core components from damage
    • Toughened ultra-clear mineral glass with anti-reflective coating
    • Constructed from aero grade aluminum alloy
    • Sturdy HAIII military grade hard-anodized
    • Waterproof in accordance with IPX-8 (two meters submersible)
    • Impact resistant to 1.5 meters
    • Tail stand capability
    • Dimensions: Length: 183mm, Head diameter: 60 mm, Tube diameter: 41.8mm
    • Weight: 302g (without battery)
    • Accessories: Quality holster, lanyard, spare O-ring
    • MSRP: ~$100



    The EA8 comes in similar packaging to the other Nitecore Explorer series lights. Inside the cardboard box, you will find the light, holster, simple wrist lanyard, extra o-ring, manual, and warranty card.




    From left to right: Duracell NiMH; Nitecore EA8; Eagletac SX25A6; Olight S65; Fenix TK45; Jetbeam PA40; Nitecore EA4.

    All dimensions directly measured, and given with no batteries installed (unless indicated):

    Nitecore EA8 8xAA: Weight: 301.9g , Length: 182mm, Width (bezel): 60.1mm
    Nitecore EA4 4xAA: Weight: 161.6g , Length: 117.9mm, Width (bezel): 40.2mm
    Eagletac SX25A6 6xAA: Weight: 279.8g, Length: 183mm, Weight (bezel): 47.0mm
    Fenix TK45 8xAA: Weight: 307.3g, Length: 202mm, Width (bezel) 50.6mm, Width (tailcap) 44.0
    ITP A6 6xAA: Weight: 209.9g, Length: 174mm, Width (bezel) 48.0mm, Width (tailcap) 37.8mm
    JetBeam PA40 4xAA: Weight: 184.0g, Length: 183mm, Width: 40.8mm (bezel), 42.1mm (max width)
    Lumintop PK30 6xAA: Weight: 454.0g, Length: 218mm, Width (bezel): 62.0mm
    Olight S65 6xAA: Weight 215.4g, Length: 180mm, Width (bezel): 38.7mm
    Sunwayman M40A 4xAA: Weight: 247.0g , Length: 145mm, Width 57.0mm (bezel)

    The EA8 is certainly in keeping with other 6x and 8x AA-size lights in my collection, but has a wider bezel opening. Note that this bezel size is comparable the TM11 and TM15.







    The EA8 certainly share a lot of similarities to the EA4 – except for the much longer body and wider head. As before, there are ridges along the body to help with grip, and there is no knurling except on the tailcap (where it helps when performing battery changes). The power button has the same feel as before, and is actually fairly "grippy" (more on this in a moment). Overall grip is reasonable. Anodizing is a flat black, and seems in excellent shape on my sample.

    Body labels are rather extensive, but they are very legible and clear.

    As with many lights of this type, the connection is made by contacts on a connector piece in the tailcap. This connector board can spin freely, and locks in place to a couple of holes in the flashliught body that line up with rods in the tailcap. As with the EA4, screw threads are anodized, but it doesn't matter – there is no physical lock-out, because it is the tension in the springs that determines the contact. In my handling, you will need to loosen the tailcap more than half-way off to even begin to break this contact (i.e., it's not very effective as a lock-out).

    Battery handle is rather compact for 8xAA (alkaline, NiMH or L91). But that's because the battery compartments are molded right into the aluminum, with the cells in a 4s2p arrangement. This means you could run the light on 4x AA lights in a pinch, just like the EA4. Just place the four cells on the same side of the handle delimited by the two lock-pin holes in the base.

    The light can both tailstand and headstand. There is a cut-out on the base to allow you thread a wrist-lanyard through.




    The switch design is the same as the EA4, which is rather distinctive. It is a two-stage electronic switch, and in many ways functions similarly to the TM11 or TM15. But it also has a lot of differences – first off, the switch is smaller, with a rubberized "grippy" texture. This actually makes it relatively easy to access with bare hands (i.e., you will feel the difference easily).

    Secondly, the switch feel is different from either the TM11 or TM15 – you don't need to press it as hard to activate the first or second levels. It's hard to describe in words, but I would describe the pressure needed as more subtle than those TM-series lights.

    There is also a faint blue LED located underneath the switch cover. This is used to signal the state of the light (i.e., battery status, voltage, etc). In daylight this LED is quite dim (i.e., not too useful as a readout), but it does make a good standby indicator in the dark. Scroll down for an explanation of the interface.




    The EA8 reflector is very smooth and quite wide and deep – this should translate into excellent throw for the class. The XM-L emitter (Cool White U2 in my sample) was well centered. The light has a flat stainless steel bezel ring, in a brushed finish.

    User Interface

    The EA8 uses the same interface as the EA4 – which is in turn similar to the TM15's innovative two-stage electronic switch.

    For Turbo output, press the switch all the way and release (for constant on), or press firmly and hold for momentary on. This "Search/Turbo" set also has a slightly lower Hi mode, which you can switch to and from (when locked on in Turbo) by half-pressing the switch and releasing. There is no mode memory on this mode set – the light always comes on in Turbo. Turn off by a full press and release.

    For the lower "Daily" modes, only partially press the switch from Off (again, hold for momentary, release quickly for locked-on). Light will come on in the memorized lower output mode. As described above, to switch modes when on, simply half-press and quickly release the switch again. The light will advance to the next output, in repeating sequence of Micro > Lo > Med > Hi. The light has memory on this mode set, and will retain the last lower output used. Turn off by a full press and release.

    Note that the Micro, Lo and Med modes are much lower than on the EA4 sample I tested. Scroll down to my testing results for a direct comparison.

    The feel of the "grippy" switch is the same as the EA4, which is a bit different from the TM15 (i.e. the pressure need is less, with less of a traverse).

    The light will read-out the voltage of the cells when you first connect the head, by a series of blue flashes under the switch cover. After the initial voltage read-out, the light will then flash once every three seconds (when off), to let you know you are in standby mode.

    Like my EA4 sample (but unlike my earlier TM-series), the switch LED indicator doesn't stay illuminated when the light is on – but it will start to flash as the batteries begin to drain, at increasing frequency.

    A "hidden" strobe mode can be accessed by two rapid full presses of the switch from On. Turn off or double-click again to return to constant output modes. There is also a SOS and Locator Beacon mode that can be accessed by pressing and holding the switch all the way down when in Strobe mode. Simply release the switch to select SOS/Beacon as the light rotates through the options.

    There is a switch lock-out mode that prevents accidental activation (and lowers the standby current, see below). From On, press the switch all the way down and hold for more than one second. There will be a brief flash - when you subsequently release the switch, the light will turn off and enter the lockout mode (and briefly flash out the voltage of the cells).

    As before, to exit the lockout mode, fully press and hold the switch firmly for more than one second. The EA8 manual correctly provides this instruction (an erroneous instruction was given in my original EA4 manual).

    Video:

    For more information on the light, including the build and user interface, please see my video overview of the whole series:



    Video was 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.

    As with all my videos, I recommend you have annotations turned on. I commonly update the commentary with additional information or clarifications before publicly releasing the video.

    PWM/Strobe

    There is no sign of PWM, at any output level. The EA8 appears to be current-controlled.

    I know there has been concern raised about PWM due to a report of non-visible circuit noise detected on an EA8 sample. The presence of a reoccurring signal does NOT indicated PWM however. In the vast majority of cases, this circuit noise is not visually detectable (i.e., can only be detected with sensitive equipment), and it does not affect efficiency. With my oscilloscope setup, I commonly detect non-visible circuit noise on many lights - including current-controlled ones. But in the case of my EA8, I am happy to report that there is no evidence of circuit noise in my testing.

    EA8 Strobe:


    As with many recent Nitecore lights, the strobe mode is very interesting. Basically, it's a variable high frequency strobe, but with varying pulse duration as well.

    On many Nitecore lights, I've not able to resolve specific reoccuring frequencies (i.e., they appear truly variable). With the EA8, there seems to be a "typical" strobe frequency of ~13 Hz. In actual fact, the time between the majority of pulses is anywhere from ~74-89 msecs (i.e., between 11.1 and 13.5 Hz). But every now and then, the strobe "skips" a pulse (i.e., goes ~160 msecs between two pulses), or "double-ups" (i.e., ~44 msec between two pulses). I show a 1 sec time sample above where several of these conditions are present.

    The net effect is that the strobe is never constant, although most of the time is between 11-13.5 Hz. But it is possible people could detect apparent short-lived frequencies as low as 6 Hz or as high as 25 Hz.

    Standby Drain

    A standby current drain is inevitable on this light, due to the electronic switch in the head.

    When you first connect batteries, the light reads out the battery voltage. Afterwards, the stable standby drain is 0.54mA on my sample. But roughly every 3 seconds, there is a brief flash of the switch LED, which causes the current to jump to up to ~6mA.

    Given that this flash is very quick, it's hard to calculate an "average" overall current. By repeated sampling, my best estimate is that this higher current only lasts for half a second, once every three seconds (i.e., spends 5/6 of the time at 0.54mA, 1/6 of the time at up to ~6mA). As a result, that makes the estimated overall current ~1.5mA, on average over time.

    Given the 4s2p arrangement of the cells (with effective capacity of 4000 mAh for my Sanyo Eneloops), that would translate into under four months in the regular standby mode. As such, I recommend you use the electronic lock to lower this current. I haven't measured it, but it is bound to be lower than the standard standby.

    Beamshots:

    And now the white-wall beamshots. All lights are on Sanyo Eneloop NiMH, at the maximum supported number for the given models (4x, 6x or 8x). Lights are 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.













    The Nitecore EA8 has a relatively wider spillbeam than most lights in this class, with a sharply defined hotspot. Peak throw is the highest I've seen in a multi-AA light to date (scroll down for actual beam measures).

    Of course, the true test will be in outdoor shots. The snow is nearly gone here, so I should be able to get to these soon. In the meantime, here are some indoor shots. These will at least allow you to compare the throw and spill of the three lights. For your reference, the back of the couch is about 7 feet away (~2.3m) from the opening of the light, and the far wall is about 18 feet away (~5.9m). Below I am showing a series of exposures, to allow you to better compare hotspot and spill.





    I will update these comparisons with outdoor shots when available.

    UPDATE JUNE 18, 2003: Below see a comparison of the EA8 to the EA4 and Eagletac SX25A6.

    For outdoor beamshots, these are all 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).

    FYI, any "streaks" you see across the images are bug-trails. Flying insects are often attracted to the bright lights, and their flight trails get captured as swirly streaks due to the long exposure time.




    The EA8 is slightly "throwier" than the SX25A6, as you would expect for the larger head and smooth reflector. But the difference isn't that great really – I wouldn't expect throw to be a major discriminator for most people.



    I haven't bothered with the close-up of the EA4, but you can tell from the above that the EA8 is a much better thrower, for roughly similar overall output (as you would expect, with that larger head).


    Testing Method:

    All my output numbers are relative for my home-made light box setup, as described on my flashlightreviews.ca website. 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. Effective July 2012, I have updated all my Peak Intensity/Beam Distance measures with a NIST-certified Extech EA31 lightmeter (orange highlights).



    As you could tell from the beamshots, the EA8 has the highest throw of any mutli-AA light in my collection. Max output is also the highest I've seen for a XM-L based light (although the newer XM-L2 emitters would allow you to squeeze out another ~15% more output, on average).

    Another interesting finding is the relatively low "Micro" mode on the EA8 – considerably lower than my EA4 for example. In fact, the Micro, Lo and Med modes are all lower on the EA8, which I personally like. Hopefully the EA4 will soon follow suit with a similar distribution. Here is how my lumen estimates compare to the Nitecore specs for the EA8:



    There is remarkably good concordance between my lumen estimates and the Nitecore reported ANSI FL-1 specs for this light.

    One thing to note – my EA8 sample steps down by ~7% after 3 mins on Turbo. This is much less than what I noticed on my EA4 sample, as shown below.



    Another change here is that I see no significant difference between alkaline and NiMH on my EA8 – but I did see a measurable difference between those cell types on my EA4.

    See runtimes graphs below for more information on the EA8 performance.

    Output/Runtime Graphs:







    The EA8 typically has excellent regulation over the course of its runs, even on alkaline cells. Although alkaline will eventually drop out of regulation, I noticed a relatively slow decline in output at that point (i.e., too gradual for you to notice, until the cells are nearly exhausted).

    Overall output/runtime efficiency seems very good overall on all batteries, consistent with a current-controlled light. That said, the extremely-efficient Eagletac SX25A6 (which is only 6xAA, but with a higher output bin XM-L2 T6) seems to have nearly equivalent regulated runtime performance at some levels. But that light has a more abrupt drop-off on alkalines, compared to the extended runtime on the EA8.

    Nitecore's ANSI FL-1 runtime specs are generally consistent with my results. Recall that the FL-1 standard calls for time to 10% output (not 50%, as reported above), and that I am using relative low-capacity 2000mAh Sanyo Eneloop (compared to 2400mAh with Nitecore).

    UPDATE: As the EA8 can easily run on 4x AA batteries, I have done some additional runtimes on Turbo and Hi, on eneloop:



    As you can see, runtime is reduced on the highest Turbo level (i.e. regulated runtime on 4xAA is only ~40% that of 8xAA). But for the lower levels, you should expect what is shown above for the Hi mode - i.e., 4xAA will give you approximately 50% of the regulated runtime on 8xAA.


    Potential Issues

    Due to the electronic switch in the head, the light has a stand-by current when waiting to receive a button press. The current is relatively low, but because of the intermittent standby flash, I estimate this would drain fully charged Sanyo Eneloops in under four months. As such, I recommend you store the light lock-out at the electronic switch, which should drastically lower the standby current. Note that it only takes a sustained button press of >1 sec to unlock the light, so accidental activation is still possible (although far less likely).

    The electronic switch is fairly small, and it may take you a few seconds to find it when you want to activate the light. That said, I actually found it easier to locate by touch than some (thanks to the grippy switch feel). It may also take you some time to get used to the relative pressure required for the two-stage switch, although I personally got used to it quickly.

    The LED indicator under the switch is very dim, and it can be hard to see under typical illumination conditions (good in the dark, though).

    Like the EA4, the EA8 lacks any sort of anti-roll feature.

    Preliminary Observations

    The EA8 is the "big brother" of the EA4 released recently from Nitecore. The main benefit of the extra batteries is extra runtime – but the EA8 has also taken advantage of the extra size to enlarge the head for even greater throw, along with a few other changes.

    The EA8 is a more substantial light than the EA4, and I find overall hand feel and grip is a bit better for it (despite a very similar body handle design). The user interface is basically the same as the EA4, which is similar to the earlier TM-series lights like the TM15, or newer P-series lights like the P25. Note that the EA4/EA8 switch does have a different feel from the TM- or P-series lights, but it took me no time at all to get used to it. With bare hands, it is easy to isolate the grippy, rubberized switch cover on these lights.

    Output levels have changed from the EA4 – and for the better, in my view. The EA8 now sports a proper Lo mode, with wider spacing spread out across all are five levels. Personally, I hope Nitecore applies this new circuit spacing the EA4 as well. Max mode output has also increased, by ~5-13%, depending on battery type (see my earlier EA4 review for my lumen estimates of that light).

    Another thing that has changed is the step-down feature on Turbo is now greatly reduced. On my EA4, I noticed a ~33% step-down on Turbo after 3 mins runtimes. This was presumably for both thermal control and runtime issues (i.e., given the small mass and limited 4xAA capacity). On the larger EA8, the magnitude of this step-down has dropped to just ~7% after 3 mins. This is a small enough step that you are not likely to notice it in practice (i.e., you may not even realize the light has a step-down). In any case, you can always turn the light off-on to restart the initial max.

    Overall output/runtime efficiency remains very good, consistent with current-controlled circuitry. I am particularly impressed by the regulation pattern on alkalines – the EA8 is able to keep flat regulation for a good amount of time, and then shows a very gradual drop-off in output (which would be hard to notice).

    The beam pattern is more of the "thrower" type, with a wide spillbeam and a sharply defined hotspot. That said, even the smaller EA4 had relatively good throw for its size. The only thing missing in the EA8 bundle is a diffuser for the light, to increase its versatility. I've seen online offers of a 60mm diffuser cover for the Nitecore TM11 and TM15, which should also work fine here (but I haven't tested one).

    All told, the EA8 is an evolution of the EA4 into a larger build. While no longer a pocket light, the EA8 does have some improvements in terms of mode spacing and step-down. While max output is only marginally higher than the EA4, it does have much greater throw and runtime (thanks to the larger head and 8xAA batteries, respectively). Certainly another option to consider in this class.

    ----

    EA8 was supplied by Nitecore for review.
    Last edited by selfbuilt; 06-18-2013 at 11:21 AM.
    Full list of all my reviews: flashlightreviews.ca. Latest hobby: whiskyanalysis.com. Latest flashlight review: Thrunite TN42.
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  2. #2
    Flashaholic* GordoJones88's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nitecore EA8 (XM-L U2, 8xAA) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO and more!

    Thanks a bunch!

  3. #3
    Flashaholic whiteoakjoe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nitecore EA8 (XM-L U2, 8xAA) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO and more!

    These 2 lights (Eagletac SX25A6 and Caveman) are a toss up for me, leaning Eagletac, can't afford both but one is going to be ordered soon... Thanks for bringing up the drain from the switch something I had not thought about.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Nitecore EA8 (XM-L U2, 8xAA) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO and more!

    7% step down is really strange. Would 7% make that much difference in terms of heat?

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    Flashaholic* SCEMan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nitecore EA8 (XM-L U2, 8xAA) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO and more!

    Wow. Yet another masterful review

    Odd, My EA4W's switch LED isn't illuminated when the light is on...
    "Unlike my EA4 sample, the switch LED indicator doesn't stay illuminated when the light is on – but it will start to flash as the batteries begin to drain, at increasing frequency."

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    *Flashaholic* kj2's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nitecore EA8 (XM-L U2, 8xAA) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO and more!

    Thanks for the review
    Last edited by kj2; 04-10-2013 at 02:30 AM.

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    Flashaholic frosty's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nitecore EA8 (XM-L U2, 8xAA) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO and more!

    Another great review. Thanks again for your efforts.

  8. #8
    Flashaholic* subwoofer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nitecore EA8 (XM-L U2, 8xAA) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO and more!

    Selfbuilt, really interesting to see that your sample only steps down 7% after 3minutes on Turbo.

    The down-shift on my sample is actually down to High (600lm) after 3minutes and is a much more significant step down.

    Regarding the parasitic drain, I can add a little more detail as I was able to measure the average standby drain at 3.25mA. This average figure was measured by recording (at a high sample rate) the standby current as the switch illumination flashes and then taking the mean of the readings. At this rate, a fully charged set of 2000mAh cells will be fully depleted in 51 days.

    In Lockout the switch illumination is off and this measured at 113uA. At this rate, a fully charged set of 2000mAh cells will be fully depleted in 4 years. (tricky juggling act to get this measurement and I could really have done with another two pairs of hands!)


    NITECORE have just confirmed to me that our review samples are from the same batch and should be performing the same. Yours is the expected behaviour (a small almost imperceptible drop after 3minutes on Turbo), so it looks like mine may be faulty. Everything else works perfectly, so this is a strange 'fault' to have.
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    Default Re: Nitecore EA8 (XM-L U2, 8xAA) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO and more!

    What is the minimum thickness in the wall by the circular cutout for the AA cell?
    Will it handle an impact with a pointy rock...

  10. #10
    Flashaholic* Eric242's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nitecore EA8 (XM-L U2, 8xAA) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO and more!

    I received mine a few days ago and really like it. Loaded with 8xAA itīs a heavy beast that indeed throws really well. The difference compared to the EA4 which is rated just a few lumens less is really impressive. If the weather getīs better Iīll do a beamshot comparsion of the EA8, EA4 and Surefire M3LT-S (800 lumens version). Judging from what Iīve seen from indoor use/tests the EA8 might outthrow the M3LT-s with itīs TIR. Although I have to admit I didnīt feed the Surefire fresh batteries (donīt have any right now) so that impression might be due to used batteries in the M3LT-S.

    Eric
    Last edited by Eric242; 04-10-2013 at 09:19 AM.
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  11. #11

    Default Re: Nitecore EA8 (XM-L U2, 8xAA) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO and more!

    Thanks all, glad you are enjoying the review.

    Quote Originally Posted by whiteoakjoe View Post
    These 2 lights (Eagletac SX25A6 and Caveman) are a toss up for me, leaning Eagletac, can't afford both but one is going to be ordered soon... Thanks for bringing up the drain from the switch something I had not thought about.
    Both have similar overall performance and throw - the main difference is that the SX25A6 uses two fewer cells for nearly as good regulated performance. But the EA8 has a more gradual drop-off once out of regulation, which is good for extended runtime on alkalines.

    I'd say it comes down to your form factor, interface, and output level preferences. The SX25A6 also has more accessories available (but at extra cost).

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Floppy View Post
    7% step down is really strange. Would 7% make that much difference in terms of heat?
    Not much I would think ... but it should help with runtime.

    Based on subwoofer's test on his sample (with repeated restarts), it appear this minor drop-down adds about ~15 mins of regulated runtime on Hi on Eneloops. But I haven't directly tested that on my sample to confirm.

    Quote Originally Posted by SCEMan View Post
    Odd, My EA4W's switch LED isn't illuminated when the light is on...
    "Unlike my EA4 sample, the switch LED indicator doesn't stay illuminated when the light is on – but it will start to flash as the batteries begin to drain, at increasing frequency."
    Ooops, I meant to say "Like my EA4 but unlike my TM-series ..." there. I'll go fix that in the text .... my EA8 and EA4 perform the same.

    Quote Originally Posted by subwoofer View Post
    Regarding the parasitic drain, I can add a little more detail as I was able to measure the average standby drain at 3.25mA. This average figure was measured by recording (at a high sample rate) the standby current as the switch illumination flashes and then taking the mean of the readings.
    When you say "mean of the readings", you don't mean that you just average the two individual values, do you?

    In my testing, I got 0.54mA for most of the time, and 6mA as the peak reading during a flash. The "average" of those two numers is indeed 3.25mA, but that's not the appropriate measure of the current average, as the light spends most of the time at the lower level. I have just gone back and done an extended sampling, I can confirm that my sample spends 2.5 secs out of evey 3 secs at the lower current (i.e., 5/6 of the time at 0.54mA, and 1/6 of the time at 6mA). The true average over time is thus 1.5mA on my sample, which translates into an estimated 111 days on 2000mAh eneloop. I've update the review with this more precise number (i.e., under four months).

    In Lockout the switch illumination is off and this measured at 113uA. At this rate, a fully charged set of 2000mAh cells will be fully depleted in 4 years. (tricky juggling act to get this measurement and I could really have done with another two pairs of hands!)
    Thanks for this number - I haven't gotten around to it (since, as you say, you really need another set of hands to juggle everything).

    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelW View Post
    What is the minimum thickness in the wall by the circular cutout for the AA cell?
    Will it handle an impact with a pointy rock...
    It should be able to handle impacts fine. Hard to give a measure, as the ripple design of the handle base gets in the way of using a caliper. It's at least 1.55mm thick to the outside of the screw threads, if that helps.
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  12. #12

    Default Re: Nitecore EA8 (XM-L U2, 8xAA) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric242 View Post
    Loaded with 8xAA itīs a heavy beast that indeed throws really well. The difference compared to the EA4 which is rated just a few lumens less is really impressive. If the weather getīs better Iīll do a beamshot comparsion of the EA8, EA4 and Surefire M3LT-S (800 lumens version).
    Yes, in real life the main advantage of the EA8 is in how much further it throws (over the EA4).

    Until I get a chance to do output pics myself, I think these two images from the review will give everyone the best indication what to expect.

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  13. #13
    Flashaholic* subwoofer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nitecore EA8 (XM-L U2, 8xAA) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by selfbuilt View Post
    When you say "mean of the readings", you don't mean that you just average the two individual values, do you?

    In my testing, I got 0.54mA for most of the time, and 6mA as the peak reading during a flash. The "average" of those two numers is indeed 3.25mA, but that's not the appropriate measure of the current average, as the light spends most of the time at the lower level. I have just gone back and done an extended sampling, I can confirm that my sample spends 2.5 secs out of evey 3 secs at the lower current (i.e., 5/6 of the time at 0.54mA, and 1/6 of the time at 6mA). The true average over time is thus 1.5mA on my sample, which translates into an estimated 111 days on 2000mAh eneloop. I've update the review with this more precise number (i.e., under four months).


    Thanks for this number - I haven't gotten around to it (since, as you say, you really need another set of hands to juggle everything).
    For the parasitic drain measurements I used a logging multimeter which was running at 5 samples per second (so a sample every 0.2s) I recorded the measurements for 30s and then popped them into a spreadsheet to get an average value. The duration of the flash on mine showed up as a regular multiple number of readings at the peak current (so it was not a hit and miss affair). This allowed me to effectively create a trace of the parasitic drain current and get an accurate average drain current.

    On my sample this is an accurate average reading.

    I too got 0.54mA and 6mA as the maximum and minimum. The flash rate on mine is quite slow and looking at the results again looks like the flash is on for around 50% of the time, a slow even on-off-on-off...
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  14. #14

    Default Re: Nitecore EA8 (XM-L U2, 8xAA) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by subwoofer View Post
    I too got 0.54mA and 6mA as the maximum and minimum. The flash rate on mine is quite slow and looking at the results again looks like the flash is on for around 50% of the time, a slow even on-off-on-off...
    Ah, that would explain your average measurement then. But I must say, this seems like another example where your review sample is very different from mine.

    I can't sample at quite as high a frequency on my DMM, but I clearly get a 5:1 ratio for the current distribution (i.e. 5/6 of the time at 0.54mA, 1/6 of the time at 6mA). You can see this visually as well - the flash of the dim LED is very brief, and only once every 3 secs (i.e., directly matches the current recordings).

    As an aside, I see the exact same thing on my EA4 - a brief flash, once every 3 seconds. You can spot this in both of my video overviews as well. I am curious to what other people see as the standby frequency flash on their samples.
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  15. #15

    Default Re: Nitecore EA8 (XM-L U2, 8xAA) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by selfbuilt View Post
    Ah, that would explain your average measurement then. But I must say, this seems like another example where your review sample is very different from mine.

    I can't sample at quite as high a frequency on my DMM, but I clearly get a 5:1 ratio for the current distribution (i.e. 5/6 of the time at 0.54mA, 1/6 of the time at 6mA). You can see this visually as well - the flash of the dim LED is very brief, and only once every 3 secs (i.e., directly matches the current recordings).

    As an aside, I see the exact same thing on my EA4 - a brief flash, once every 3 seconds. You can spot this in both of my video overviews as well. I am curious to what other people see as the standby frequency flash on their samples.
    My light seems to be the same as yours. It flashes every 3-4 seconds. The flash is a short little blip, probably .1 second or less.

  16. #16
    Flashaholic* xevious's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nitecore EA8 (XM-L U2, 8xAA) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO and more!

    Excellent review, as always.

    It's impressive what flashlight makers are able to do with drivers powered by common battery cells like AA. Terrific current control and very powerful output for impressive run times. Rechargeable AA's bring a lot less worries than RCR123's, 18650's etc. But 8 cells... that's a bit tedious for charging. At least decent quality AA chargers are very affordable. It'll be interesting to see how this trend goes, if we'll end up seeing more and more AA and AAA powered lights offered over the next few years.
    Lights in my rotation: Nitecore EA4 | Surefire U2 | Novatac EDC-120P | Olight M20 R5 | Fenix P3D-Q5, PD30. L0D-Q4 | Regal WT1 | Pila GL3/D26

  17. #17
    Flashaholic holylight's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nitecore EA8 (XM-L U2, 8xAA) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO and more!

    Thanks.
    lights: saber1a, v11r, sc52, sc600ii, ea4, tn31, archer1a.



  18. #18

    Default Re: Nitecore EA8 (XM-L U2, 8xAA) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by melty View Post
    My light seems to be the same as yours. It flashes every 3-4 seconds. The flash is a short little blip, probably .1 second or less.
    Yes, that's what I expect is supposed to be the case.

    Note that although the blip is indeed quite short (a fraction of a second flash), my DMM detects nearly half-a-second disruption of the base standby current. Hard for me quantify further (i.e., would need an oscillocope current trace, and I don't have that kind of capability).

    Quote Originally Posted by xevious View Post
    But 8 cells... that's a bit tedious for charging. At least decent quality AA chargers are very affordable. It'll be interesting to see how this trend goes, if we'll end up seeing more and more AA and AAA powered lights offered over the next few years.
    Indeed ... although it is worth emphasizing that the EA8 will run just fine on 4xAA. I haven't done runtimes on this configuration, but may get around to it if I can find the time. I expect Turbo runtime will be rather short, but the other modes should be fine (i.e., the EA4 does fine on 4xAA).
    Last edited by selfbuilt; 04-11-2013 at 06:31 AM.
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  19. #19
    Flashaholic* subwoofer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nitecore EA8 (XM-L U2, 8xAA) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by selfbuilt View Post
    Indeed ... although it is worth emphasizing that the EA8 will run just fine on 4xAA. I have done runtimes on this configuration, but may get around to it if I can find the time. I expect Turbo runtime will be rather short, but the other modes should be fine (i.e., the EA4 does fine on 4xAA).
    I included the 4 x AA runtime on Turbo in my review of the EA8.

    Unsurprisingly the heavily loaded cells managed less than half the runtime on a full 8 cells, but did very well considering it had half the recommended number of cells.

    I would not want to risk trying Turbo on only 4 Alkalines as the high power draw might lead to leakage, but on Eneloops should be fine.
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  20. #20
    Flashaholic holylight's Avatar
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    Default Nitecore EA8 (XM-L U2, 8xAA) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO and more!

    True.
    lights: saber1a, v11r, sc52, sc600ii, ea4, tn31, archer1a.



  21. #21

    Default Re: Nitecore EA8 (XM-L U2, 8xAA) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO and more!

    Ok, I have done some additional runtimes on Turbo and Hi, on eneloop:



    As you can see, runtime is reduced on the highest Turbo level (i.e. regulated runtime on 4xAA is only ~40% that of 8xAA). This isn't entirely surprising, given the EA8 is driven fairly heavily (for 4xAA).

    But for the lower levels, you should expect what is shown above for the Hi mode - i.e., 4xAA will give you approximately 50% of the regulated runtime on 8xAA.
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  22. #22
    Flashaholic* Haesslich's Avatar
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    Default Nitecore EA8 (XM-L U2, 8xAA) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO and more!

    Say, which of the EA8 or the LD41 world appear to be the better thrower? The head sizes appear similar from the body shots you put in, although the EA8 has a slightly wider head. At High, it roughly matches the LD41 in max output.

  23. #23

    Default Re: Nitecore EA8 (XM-L U2, 8xAA) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO and more!

    how close is this light to the M22 by Olight? Seems like a great entry level light Im looking at getting into. Great review, now I just have to figure out which one to get. Thanks

  24. #24

    Default Re: Nitecore EA8 (XM-L U2, 8xAA) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by Haesslich View Post
    Say, which of the EA8 or the LD41 world appear to be the better thrower? The head sizes appear similar from the body shots you put in, although the EA8 has a slightly wider head. At High, it roughly matches the LD41 in max output.
    No, the EA8 has a 60mm bezel opening, whereas the LD41 is only 40mm. The LD41 is thus a closer comparable to the EA4. In any case, both the EA4 and EA8 far out-throw the LD41 - Fenix lists its beam intensity as only 10,000cd (and their measures are usually very accurate). There is really no contest to the EA4 (21.5K cd) and EA8 (53K cd) for peak throw.

    Or were you thinking of the TK41? It has a similar overall size to the EA8 (i.e., 62mm bezel, also 8xAA, with similar overall output). Fenix specs show a very similar peak intensity of 59k cd.

    Quote Originally Posted by little squirt View Post
    how close is this light to the M22 by Olight? Seems like a great entry level light Im looking at getting into. Great review, now I just have to figure out which one to get. Thanks
    Well, overall output of the 1x18650 M22 is the same as my EA8 (860 estimated lumens in my testing). But it can't compete in throw given the much smaller head - only 23,000cd on the M22.

    The EA4 is thus a better comparable to the M22. But it depends what battery source you want, of course. If you are looking for a good 1x18650 competitor to the M22, check out the Eagletac G25C2-II and TX25C2 as well.
    Last edited by selfbuilt; 04-17-2013 at 05:06 AM.
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  25. #25
    Flashaholic* Haesslich's Avatar
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    Default Nitecore EA8 (XM-L U2, 8xAA) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by selfbuilt View Post
    No, the EA8 has a 60mm bezel opening, whereas the LD41 is only 40mm. The LD41 is thus a closer comparable to the EA4. In any case, both the EA4 and EA8 far out-throw the LD41 - Fenix lists its beam intensity as only 10,000cd (and their measures are usually very accurate). There is really no contest to the EA4 (21.5K cd) and EA8 (53K cd) for peak throw.

    Or were you thinking of the TK41? It has a similar overall size to the EA8 (i.e., 62mm bezel, also 8xAA, with similar overall output). Fenix specs show a very similar peak intensity of 59k cd.
    Huh. It didn't look that large in the photos. Then again, I've got the LD40, LD41, and TK35 for my 'large' Fenix lights. I'll bet the EA8 has a lovely flood spot compared to the LD41, though. And if it comes in NW the way the EA4 does...

  26. #26
    Flashaholic picrthis's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nitecore EA8 (XM-L U2, 8xAA) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO and more!

    You should read the Nitecore EA8 tear down on the other forum, it puts the EA8 in a whole different "light" I think.
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  27. #27

    Default Re: Nitecore EA8 (XM-L U2, 8xAA) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO and more!

    The Nitecore EA 8 Caveman is very charming for me.
    One Question: When the new Cree LED XM-L2 follow the current U2 , will there be more Power in the Beam?
    Thanks for an answer

  28. #28

    Default Re: Nitecore EA8 (XM-L U2, 8xAA) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by Ernst from Germany View Post
    The Nitecore EA 8 Caveman is very charming for me.
    One Question: When the new Cree LED XM-L2 follow the current U2 , will there be more Power in the Beam?r
    I don't have any knowledge of a XM-L2 U2 being in the works. But if there were to be one, you would expect two output bins difference.

    So, practically, that would mean an average 13% increase in overall output and center beam throw for equivalent runtime. But due to where any two samples fall in their respective bins, that could be anywhere from 7-20 %.

    But again, I have no idea when or if nitecore is planning to make that change.
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  29. #29

    Default Re: Nitecore EA8 (XM-L U2, 8xAA) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO and more!

    Wow! What a piece of junk. I was all in for the new srt series, but now I don't feel I can trust such a company tha would try to hide such crappy quality.
    p
    Quote Originally Posted by picrthis View Post
    You should read the Nitecore EA8 tear down on the other forum, it puts the EA8 in a whole different "light" I think.

  30. #30
    Flashaholic
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    Default Re: Nitecore EA8 (XM-L U2, 8xAA) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO and more!

    selfbuilt, what does your EA8 read as the voltage with 8 new alkaline cells in it? Mine is showing 6.4 volts, but shouldn't that be 12? Is something wrong?

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