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Thread: Jetbeam BC25se (XM-L2, 1x18650, 2xCR123A/RCR) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

  1. #1

    Popcorn Jetbeam BC25se (XM-L2, 1x18650, 2xCR123A/RCR) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

    Warning: pic heavy, as usual.





    The BC25se is an updated "special edition" of the JetBeam BC25, a two-mode 1x18650 or 2xCR123A/RCR light. The BC-series is part of the Backup family of lights from JetBeam. I have previously reviewed a couple of models from this series, including the BC10 & BA20 and the BC40.

    Let's see how the new BC25se compares to other lights in this class.

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

    • LED: CREE XM-L2 T6
    • Runs on: 2x CR123A or 1x 18650 (Battery NOT included)
    • Output mode/Runtime: High: 960 lumens / 3hrs, Low: 200 lumens / 7hrs
    • Max Beam Distance: 300 meters
    • Peak Beam Intensity: 22,000cd
    • High performance optical system
    • Rapid brightness level selection
    • JetBeam agility switch system
    • Reverse battery polarity protection
    • Remaining power indicator
    • Coated mineral glass
    • Waterproof to IPX-8 standards
    • Made of durable aircraft-grade aluminum
    • Premium type III hard anodized anti-abrasive finish
    • Tailstand capability
    • Stainless steel removable tactical clip
    • Dimensions: Length: 5.75" (146.2mm), Body Diameter: 1" (25.4mm), Bezel Diameter: 1.44" (36.8mm)
    • Weight: 4.55 oz (129g) (excluding batteries)
    • MSRP: ~$59







    Packaging is a little different for the BC25se – the light and extras come inside a clear plastic container, encased in a cardboard container. You have to cut open the cardboard to access the interior. Included with the light is a basic wrist lanyard, extra o-rings, spare switch boot cover, metal grip ring, manual, product insert and warranty card. A removable pocket clip is included attached to the light.




    From left to right: AW 18650 protected; Jetbeam BC25se; Fenix PD35; Thrunite TN12-2014; Nitecore P12; Eagletac G25C2-II; Armytek Viking Pro.

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

    Jetbeam BC25se: Weight: 133.8g, Length: 147.0mm, Width (bezel): 33.6mm
    Fenix PD35: Weight: 82.7g, Length: 138.1mm, Width (bezel): 25.4mm
    Eagletac G25C2-II (stock): Weight 141.0g, Length: 150.6mm, Width: 39.6mm
    Eagletac TX25C2: Weight 93.6g, Length: 120.4mm, Width (bezel): 31.6mm
    Foursevens Quark Q123-2 X (Regular tailcap): Weight: 44.6g, Length: 112.7mm, Width (bezel) 22.0mm
    Foursevens MMX: Weight 145.8g, Length: 153.3mm, Width (bezel): 38.7mm
    Nitecore P12: Weight: 89.7g, Length: 139.4mm, Width (bezel): 25.4mm
    Olight M20S-X: Weight: 124.1g, Length: 145.4mm, Width: 35.5mm (head)
    Olight S20 (2013, XM-L2): Weight: 52.4g, Length: 106.5mm, Width (bezel): 23.1mm
    Sunwayman C21C: Weight 78.6g, Length: 102.0mm, Width (bezel side) 26.9mm (bezel diagonal) 31.2mm
    Sunwayman F20C: Weight: 111.5g, Length: 133.6mm, Width (bezel): 31.0mm
    Sunwayman V25C: Weight: 117.3g, Length: 134.9mm, Width (bezel): 32.1mm
    Thrunite TN12-2014: Weight: 80.0g, Length: 140.5mm, Width (bezel): 25.4mm
    Zebralight SC600: Weight 87.2g, Length: 107.8mm, Width (bezel) 29.7mm







    The Backup series (BC and BA-series lights) were always pretty basic in build. The components were generally interchangeable among the family, but unfortunately I never tested the original BC25 (and so can't directly compare).

    One comment I will make here is that the BC25se does seem slightly bulky in the head for a simple two-stage light. This is likely due to the battery voltage indicator in the head.

    Like the other Backup lights, the BC25se has black anodizing (type III), relatively glossy. Lettering is a bright white against the black background (legible and clear, but not obtrusive). Knurling is not very aggressive, but there are some ridge detail items to help with grip.

    The removable pocket clip and plastic grip ring also both help with grip (and anti-roll) when installed. The pocket clip is fairly basic, but seems to hold acceptably. Note that as with the earlier models, the clip is not reversible. Also, as common on most lights with this sort of grip ring, it can still rotate even with the tailcap installed.

    There are a lot of screw threads in the tail area, with a traditional fine triangular cut. Threads are anodized, allowing for lock-out. The BC25se uses a forward physical clicky switch, as is common on these sorts of lights. I found the switch reasonably easy to access, with a typical traverse and feel.

    Note that the sample reviewed here cannot tailstand, given how much the switch boot protrudes beyond the tailcap rim. I understand from Jetbeam that they have corrected this, and all currently shipping samples should be able to tailstand.




    The BC25se comes with a XM-L2 emitter and smooth reflector (emitter was well centered on my sample). Scroll down for beamshot comparisons.

    User Interface

    The UI will feel familiar to users of the earlier Backup series (or classic Fenix dual-stage lights).

    Turn on/off by the forward clicky switch (i.e. press for momentary, click for locked-on). Twist the head tight for Hi, loosen for Lo.

    And that’s it – there is no strobe, SOS, etc.

    The battery voltage indicator runs constant green during operation of the light, until ~10% battery capacity is remaining. At this point, it switches to a slow flashing red.

    Video:

    For more information on the overall build and user interface, please see my video overview:



    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

    Reviewer's note: I have recently updated my oscilloscope software, so the traces below may look a little different from my earlier reviews.

    On the earlier Backup series lights I tested, there was no sign of pulse-width modulation (PWM). I believe those lights were current controlled.

    On the BC25se though, there is visible PWM on the Lo mode:



    The frequency is 1.19 kHz, which is reasonable for a PWM light – but still visually noticeable for those of us who are sensitive to it. I would consider this to be reasonable for a PWM frequency. It terms of sensitivity to PWM, there is clearly a lot of variability out there – some people either don't see it or aren't bothered by it, others do.

    Moreover, the new circuit means the BC25se steps down to a series of discrete outputs as the battery voltage drops (starting a few mins after activation, on fresh cells). PWM was similarly detectable on all of these steps as well. This means that you will also notice PWM on the Hi mode fairly quickly as your cells drain.

    There is no strobe/SOS modes on the BC25se.

    No Standby Drain

    Due to the physical clicky switch, there is no standby current drain on this light.

    Beamshots:

    And now the white-wall beamshots. All lights are on AW protected 18650 (2200mAh). 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 BC25se has a narrower overall spillbeam compared the smaller lights in this class (due to the relatively deep reflector here). It is also a "throwier" light, with a more focused hotspot. Scroll down for my actual beam measures.

    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).





    There's a lot of data up there. Probably the best way to make sense of it all is to compare the performance of the BC25se on all batteries:



    First off, I'm a little surprised by the official "960 lumen" ANSI FL-1 rating on this light – in my testing, it was always a good ~200 lumens below that (even on 2xRCR). Not that this is a big deal – the 660-770 estimated lumens reported here is still a good amount of light.

    Note that I measured ANSI FL-1 Beam Intensity of 17,200cd (262m beam distance) on the highest output source, 2xRCR. This is proportionately lower than the reported max specs as well.

    See runtimes below for more info.

    Output/Runtime Graphs:








    These results require a bit of an explanation.

    The BC25se suffers from relatively low efficiency on its Hi mode, due to the use of PWM as soon as the first step-down occurs (3 mins into the run). All the other lights shown above - including several PWM-based ones – maintain constant-current on their highest mode. Since the BC25se steps down, it is bound to show lower overall efficiency on Hi.

    A better indication of how the BC25se compares can be found on the Lo mode 18650 test. Here, you can see the BC25se performs fairly close to the Olight M20S-X (another PWM-based light). Indeed, the BC25se is pretty much run-of-the-mill for a PWM light (i.e. better than the Tactical Impulse, not as efficient as the Crelant 7G3CS, for example).

    If it weren't for the novel PWM-based step-down on Hi, I'm sure the BC25se would have performed equivalently to the other lights above.

    Potential Issues

    The BC25se uses PWM for its Lo mode, at a reasonable (but still visible) 1.19 kHz. However, the new circuit design causes the light to step down repeatedly from its initial Hi mode (with the first step at 3 mins after activation). All these reduced Hi modes have a similar PWM frequency to the Lo mode. This means that within 3 mins of runtime on Hi, you may be able to detect PWM visually.

    The use of PWM on the Hi mode also means that the BC25se has lower overall output/runtime efficiency than other lights in my collection. Note that all the other PWM-based lights I've tested maintain constant current on their highest mode.

    Light is two modes only.

    My sample doesn't tailstand, but Jetbeam informs me that all the currently shipping BC25se lights will.

    Preliminary Observations

    In my original review of the Backup series (BC and BA-series lights), I was fairly impressed with what you got for the price. The lights are sturdy, while being on the minimalist side in terms of style, accessories and features. IMO, they made great "budget" lights, thanks to the build quality and performance.

    The updates to the BC25se - to increase output and add a battery power indicator - are appreciated. However, in the process, they have made some circuit changes that reduce overall value in my opinion.

    The first of these is the use pulse-width-modulation (PWM) now. The original Backup series lights were all current-controlled - and thus very efficient. PWM is always going to be less efficient on the low modes (although it does keep beam tint more consistent). The PWM frequency is reasonable at ~1.2kHz (i.e., not obtrusive or annoying, but it is still detectable by eye for those who are sensitive to it).

    Some will point out that PWM has the advantage of consistent tint across levels. This is true, but I don't personally see the advantage in a "budget" light without a guaranteed tint bin (i.e., you don't know what kind of tint you are going to get exactly).

    The larger issue is the regulated step-down feature on Hi. As the first step-down occurs after 3 mins of continuous runtime, this means PWM shows up quickly on the Hi mode as well. As you will see in the runtimes, this greatly disadvantages the BC25se compared to other lights - even other PWM lights. The reason for this is that almost all PWM-based lights that I've tested run their Hi modes at constant-current. So while the BC25se may have a more "regulated" pattern on Hi, overall output/runtime efficiency at this level is among the lowest I've seen for a modern LED light.

    To be clear - a 1.2kHz PWM light is quite reasonable, and overall runtime (in absolute terms) is likely more than sufficient for most uses. But if Jetbeam hadn't opted to go with this new step-wise circuit, there would have been no need to use PWM in the first place. One of the key advantages of the original Backup series is gone now (i.e., a simple two-stage light with highly efficient current-controlled circuit).

    The other new feature – the voltage indicator – worked well in my testing. It was consistent for when the red light came on (i.e., with only ~10% power left). I did like that the LED indicator is not overly bright or obtrusive when running the light.

    As the design would suggest, the BC25se is relatively "throwy" for the class. Also, I don't know if was just my sample, but max output and throw on Hi were not as great as the the advertised spec report.

    Is the BC25se worth the upgrade? I suppose that depends on what matters to you. I have no doubt it is brighter initially on Hi than the predecessor BC25 (but by how much I cannot say, as I never tested that particular light). But runtime performance may be disappointing due to the PWM method used here. I hope you found the detailed comparisons above useful.

    ----

    BC25se was provided by Jetbeam for review.
    Last edited by selfbuilt; 05-30-2014 at 07:23 AM.
    Full list of all my reviews: flashlightreviews.ca. Latest hobby: whiskyanalysis.com. New: Selfbuilt's Summer Sale!
    Gratefully accepting donations to my battery fund.

  2. #2
    Flashaholic* Ryp's Avatar
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    Default Re: Jetbeam BC25se (XM-L2, 1x18650, 2xCR123A/RCR) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and mor

    Thanks for the review!

  3. #3

    Default Re: Jetbeam BC25se (XM-L2, 1x18650, 2xCR123A/RCR) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and mor

    Just a quick update - Jetbeam informs that all currently shipping versions of the BC25se will be able to tailstand. It was just an issue with the first production run that I received that can't.
    Full list of all my reviews: flashlightreviews.ca. Latest hobby: whiskyanalysis.com. New: Selfbuilt's Summer Sale!
    Gratefully accepting donations to my battery fund.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Jetbeam BC25se (XM-L2, 1x18650, 2xCR123A/RCR) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and mor

    Thanks for another excellent review. I cannot detect PWM usually but I can detect efficiency. Usually on the budget end of any manufacturer, and I have a few, you give up features One feature that I have been increasingly interested in is low lm. 140 lm is definately not low enough for me. Also Jetbeam's lm specs. are way off as SB reported. A 200 lm difference in max output is substantial. Think I'll pass on this one.

  5. #5
    Flashaholic
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    Default Re: Jetbeam BC25se (XM-L2, 1x18650, 2xCR123A/RCR) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and mor

    Great review as always, video is very helpful seeing it in the flesh so to speak. I would love to see an 18650 extension tube for this light. I am a total AA flashlight tart now but this is almost enough to push me back to 18650's.
    Last edited by Wolf359; 06-14-2014 at 06:55 AM.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Jetbeam BC25se (XM-L2, 1x18650, 2xCR123A/RCR) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and mor

    I just tried this version last night and im dissapointed! I was comparing it to the original BC25 and by eye its nearly identical, the new version might be just a tiny bit brighter or maybe it was just a cooler colour, i couldnt tell but it is NOT 300 lumens brighter thats for sure! I also dont like the the new larger head or the shape towards the rear or the fact it doesnt come with a pouch anymore. In direct comparison to the original version i dont think its an improvement at all and i still prefer the old version. In saying that if your looking for a decent, cheap bright torch i would recomend it for sure, but not as an upgrade from the original...
    Last edited by NUTSACK; 12-06-2014 at 02:02 PM.

  7. #7
    Flashaholic* CelticCross74's Avatar
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    Default Re: Jetbeam BC25se (XM-L2, 1x18650, 2xCR123A/RCR) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and mor

    Thanks for the review! Lets see here ansi rated at 960 lumens and only delivers 760? No thanks. I cannot stand it when manufacturers pull the "overrate and overstate" marketing BS. I had enough overrated and overstated heartbreak with my supposedly 960 lumen yet actually nearly a ridiculous 200 lumens lower SRT7. I do like Jetbeam though I have an SRA40 and just got the new 3m Pro and am more than impressed with them both.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Jetbeam BC25se (XM-L2, 1x18650, 2xCR123A/RCR) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and mor

    Selfbuilt, thank you for the review.
    I was THIS close || to considering getting this light until I read your review. Good thing, because I would not have liked this light's performance.
    You mention the light yielded only 17,200cd (262m beam distance) on the highest output source, 2xRCR. Per the table above, I think you skipped a row.
    It's only 14,900cd (244m): way below the advertised 22,000cd.
    This kind of shameless embellishment might just be enough for me to stay away from this brand altogether.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Jetbeam BC25se (XM-L2, 1x18650, 2xCR123A/RCR) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and mor

    Quote Originally Posted by scs View Post
    You mention the light yielded only 17,200cd (262m beam distance) on the highest output source, 2xRCR. Per the table above, I think you skipped a row.
    It's only 14,900cd (244m): way below the advertised 22,000cd.
    No, it's just that I don't typically report beam intensity/distance on anything but 1x18650 in the tables (i.e., those two orange columns are missing from the 2x tables). Rather than make two new columns on the 2xRCR table for only one row that has data, I simply reported the results in the text.

    My BC25se produces 14900cd on 1x18650, and 17200cd on 2xRCR.
    Full list of all my reviews: flashlightreviews.ca. Latest hobby: whiskyanalysis.com. New: Selfbuilt's Summer Sale!
    Gratefully accepting donations to my battery fund.

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