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Thread: Zebralight SC5 (1xAA, XM-L2) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO and more!

  1. #1

    Thumbs up Zebralight SC5 (1xAA, XM-L2) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO and more!




    The SC5 is the latest refresh of the Zebralight 1xAA line, replacing the earlier SC52 as their top-performing AA light.

    The SC52 was a very impressive light for the time, and the SC5 promises even more. Let's see if it lives up to that billing!

    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 Cool White (Nominal CCT 6300K)
    • User Selectable Levels: 3 main levels (High, Medium and Low). Each main level can be programmed to one of its two sub-levels. The second sub-level of the each main levels can be further programmed to different brightness levels.
    • High: H1 535 Lm (3min, then 325lm, total 0.8 hr) or H2 325 Lm (0.9 hr) / 200 Lm (1.8 hrs) / 115 Lm (3.5 hrs)
    • Medium: M1 48 Lm (8.5 hrs) or M2 20 Lm (16.5 hrs) / 8 Lm (42 hrs)
    • Low: L1 3.2 Lm (4 days) or L2 1.1 Lm (16 days) / 0.3 Lm (50 days) / 0.1 Lm (4 months)
    • Beacon Strobe Mode: 4Hz Strobe at H1 / 19Hz Strobe at H1
    • Light output are ANSI out the front (OTF) values. Runtimes tested (and parasitic drain estimated) using Panasonic Eneloop Pro AA batteries. Remaining battery power, about 10-20%, after step-down are not counted towards the runtimes.
    • Operating Voltage Range: 0.7V - 2.0V
    • Battery: One AA size NiMH, lithium or alkaline battery. Panasonic Eneloop or Eneloop Pro is highly recommended. Batteries are not included in the box.
    • Parasitic Drain: Negligible (much less than the self discharging of a battery)
    • Beam Type: 80 degree spill, 10 degree hot spot
    • Dimensions: Head Diameter: 1.0 inch (25.4 mm), Length: 3.2 inch (81.3 mm)
    • Weight: 2.0 oz (58 gram)
    • Battery capacity indicator (LED flashes 1-4 times, 4 short clicks to start)
    • Automatic stepping down from High to Medium, and from Medium to Low when battery capacity is low
    • Durable electronic soft-touch switch
    • Smart user interface provides fast and easy access to all brightness levels and beacon-strobes.
    • Precision machined unibody casing from premium grade aluminum bar stocks
    • Proprietary heat sinking design bonds the LED board directly to the unibody aluminum casing
    • Durable natural hard anodized finish (Type III Class I)
    • Sealed and potted LED driver circuitry
    • Battery reverse polarity protection
    • Tempered optical grade glass
    • Preinstalled bezel down pocket clip
    • Smooth reflector
    • Battery power can be disconnected by slightly unscrewing the tailcap to prevent unwanted activations or parasitic drain
    • Waterproof to IPX7 (2 meters, 30 minutes)
    • MSRP: ~$69
    Operation:
    • This light has 3 main levels (High, Medium, and Low) and a beacon-strobe mode. Each main level can be programmed to one of its two sub-levels. The second sub-level of each main levels can be further programmed to different brightness levels.
    • Basic Operation
    • One short-click turns on the light to High or turns off the light.
    • Two short-click turns on the light to Medium.
    • Three short-click turns on the light to the beacon-strobe mode.
    • Press and hold (for over 0.6 seconds) turns on the light to Low and then Medium and High. Release at the desired level.
    • Advanced Operation and Configuration
    • Press and hold to cycle from Low, Medium and High, release at the desired level to set. When press and hold, the light always cycle from Low to High regardless which level you are currently in.
    • Double click to toggle and select between the two sub-levels for that main level. Sub-level selections for the 3 main levels are memorized after the light is turned off and through battery changes.
    • The second sub-level (H2, M2 and L2) of each main levels can be further programmed to different brightness levels. At a main level, double-click 6 times to start configuration. On subsequent double-clicks the light will cycle through different brightness levels. Short click to turn off the light when finishing configurations. The selections for the second sub-levels are memorized after the light is turned off and through battery changes.
    • This light uses the main LED (flashing 1 to 4 times) to indicate the estimated remaining capacity of the battery. To start the battery indicator, (from Off) short-click 4 times without pause.
    • Beacon-strobe mode can be accessed from 3 short-clicks when the light is Off. Once in the beacon-strobe mode, you can double-click to cycle through different types of beacons and strobes. Beacon-strobe settings are memorized when the light is turned off and through battery changes.



    The SC5 came in the standard "eco-friendly" packaging that has been standard on Zebralight for some time now. Included in the simple (but firm) cardboard box was the light with removable clip (attached, with screws), two extra o-rings, a one-page instruction sheet and battery warning. My review sample came with a couple of Eneloop Pro AA NiMH batteries, but these are NOT included with the shipping lights.




    From left to right: Panasonic Eneloop Pro AA NiMH; Zebralight SC5, SC52, SC51; L3 Illumination L10; Skilhunt DS15; Olight S15; Thrunite Archer 1A V2.

    All dimensions are given with no batteries installed:

    Zebralight SC5: Weight 58.3g, Length 81.5mm, Width (bezel): 22.6mm, Width (max) 27.0mm
    Zebralight SC52: Weight 39.5g, Length 79.0mm, Width (bezel): 22.6mm, Width (max) 25.4mm
    Zebralight SC51: Weight: 37.4g, Length 80.5mm, Width (bezel) 21.1mm, Width (max): 22.6mm

    Fenix LD12: Weight: 52.3g, Length: 99.9mm, Width (bezel): 21.6mm
    Nitecore MT1A: Weight: 54.6g, Length: 104.6mm, Width (bezel): 22.7mm
    Olight S15: Weight: 46.4g, Length: 87.0mm, Width (bezel): 23.1mm
    L3 Illumination L10: Weight: 20.7g, Length: 79.4mm, Width (bezel): 17.1mm
    Lumintop ED15: Weight: 59.7g, Length: 100.2, Width (bezel): 21.9mm
    Skilhunt DS15: Weight: 52.0g, Length: 92.1mm, Width (bezel): 24.0mm
    Thrunite Archer 1A v2 CW: Weight: 66.9g, Length: 109.6mm, Width: 23.1mm
    Thrunite Neutron 2A 2014 (1xAA form): Weight: 57.6g, Length: 95.6mm, Width (bezel): 25.6mm








    The overall build of the SC5 has been updated from the earlier 1xAA Zebralights, and is now a bit larger and heavier. It also has actual knurling over the whole body, of reasonable aggressiveness. I understand the extra space was required for the circuit, to add additional functionality (and I'm guess more heatsinking as well).

    Anodizing (on my sample) has returned to the more traditional Zebralight gray "natural" finish. Previous lights were a bit more gray-green.

    Switch is an electronic switch, recessed to reduce the risk of accidental activation, as before.

    Tailcap now has a number of small raised buttons, with some spring action underneath each one. These are apparently known as "pogo-pins", and help save some length. Contact in the head has changed as well – please see my video for more details.

    Tailcap threads are anodized as before, allowing for tailcap lockout. The light can both tailstand and headstand.

    The light comes with a removable metal pocket clip, held in place by two regular Phillips head screws, as before.




    The head is wider now, with a wider and deeper reflector on the SC5. Reflector is smooth now on my sample (was lightly textured before). The cool white XM-L2 emitter was not perfectly centered, but was more than acceptable.

    User Interface

    The SC5 uses the latest variant of the Zebralight interface (i.e., very similar to my SC62). While it may sound a little complex when first described, it is actually quite easy to use.

    As always, On/Off and all mode switching is controlled by the single electronic clicky switch. The main level choices are Lo – Med – Hi. There are two possible memorized outputs at each level, commonly referred to as 1 or 2 (e.g. L1/L2, M1/M2, H1/H2). And for each of the second levels, you can choose between 2 or 3 options. This gives you a total of 11 constant outputs to choose from. There are also 2 blinking modes.

    I know that may sound confusing, but the interface is actually well laid out for simple operation. Let me walk you through everything:

    Basic Operation

    By default, the light is set to come on in a Hi, Med or Low mode. You could therefore easily use the light as a simple, straight-forward three-mode light, if you want.

    To get Hi initially, do a quick single click from Off. A double-quick-click from Off gets you Med. A slightly longer press and hold from Off (i.e. >0.6 sec) turns on the light in the Lo mode.

    At any time when On, simply press-and-hold to advance through Lo > Med > Hi, in a repeating loop. Release the switch to select the level. As before, a quick click turns off the light.

    A triple-quick-click from Off gets you Beacon/Strobe mode.

    As with everything on a Zebralight, it takes a bit of use to get the timings right. For example, if you click again too soon after a turning On, you may get an unexpected mode (i.e., need to wait a sec before trying to turn Off).

    Secondary Modes

    When On, a quick double-click at any time switches to/from the secondary mode for that level (referred to as 1 or 2 for each level). So for example, double-click to move from H1 to H2. The light will memorize your choice and return to it next time you cycle or turn on at this level. The memory even lasts through battery changes.

    Advanced Operation

    As with other Zebralights, you also have a few choices as to what the secondary mode can be for each level. There are 3 possible H2 levels and L2 levels, and 2 possible M2 levels.

    To enter the programming feature, double-click the light 6 times rapidly in any given level. Now, every additional double-click will advance you through the two/three programmable options for that level. To select the mode you want as the secondary level, simply turn off the light once you have made your choice. When you next turn it on, that last level will have been memorized (as H2, M2 or L2), and returned to automatically.

    This same maneuver works for selecting the blinking modes as well (accessed as triple-click from Off). So, you switch between the four blinking options by double-clicking the switch once in the On state (a single click or press-hold reverts you to the constant output modes). Mode sequence for the blinking modes is: Fast Strobe > Slow Strobe, in repeating sequence.

    Battery Indicator

    Another feature is a relative battery life remaining indicator. Quadrupule-click the switch from Off, and the main emitter flashes out a relative battery strength (flashes 1-4 times, with 4 being nearly fully charged).

    And that’s it – it is really very simple in practice, once you get used to the timings.

    Video Overview:

    For information on the light, including the 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.

    As an aside, if you want to get an instant notification for every new review that I post here on CPF, you can subscribe to my YouTube channel (the vids go public at the same time). Just mouse over my logo watermark on the top right-hand corner of the video for the subscribe feature to open up. You may need to tap or click, depending on the platform you are using to watch.

    PWM/Strobe

    As with my other Zebralight lights, I don't see any signs of pulse width modulation (PWM) on any the lower output modes. The light appears to be fully current controlled at all levels.

    Fast Strobe:


    The fast strobe mode is a disorienting ~15Hz tactical strobe.

    Slow Strobe:


    The slow strobe is 3.9 Hz on my sample.

    Standby Drain

    A standby current drain is inevitable on the SC5, due to the electronic switch in the head. Unfortunately, my DMM's uA port was fried on my last review, and I'm still waiting on a replacement. I do not expect there to be an issue though, given how low the previous two models performed:

    SC52: 20.2 uA on Eneloop NiMH
    SC51: 14.2 uA on Eneloop NiMH

    Assuming a Panasonic 2500mAh Eneloop Pro NiMH, those currents would translate into over 14 years minimum. I do not expect any issue on the SC5.

    As before, you can fully break this current - and physically lock-out the light - by twisting the tailcap a quarter turn.

    Beamshots:

    All lights are on Max output on Panasonic Eneloop Pro AA NiMH. 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.













    As you can see, that's a stunning amount of output from single NiMH AA battery! Scroll down for testing results.
    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).



    That is a remarkable max output increase on NiMH – nearly double the max output of the SC52, which had been the previous class champ.

    To put that in perspective, here is how it compares to typical 1x14500 lights (including the older SC52):



    No doubt about it, Zebralight has managed to produce the first 1xAA light that can reach output levels previously only attainable by 1x14500. Given the increase work capacity of current NiMH batteries, 1x14500 has been rendered completely obsolete.



    As you will see above, my lumen estimates are pretty close to Zebralights specs (at least for non-moonlight modes). But as always, note that my lumen estimation method is just an estimate based on the calibration of my lightbox. As such, don't get caught up on the absolute difference between lights or levels, as I can't guarantee absolute accuracy. Focus instead on the relative differences, as that is internally consistent across all my reviews.

    Output/Runtime Graphs:

    Fortunately, I have been moving my NiMH AA testing to the newer Panasonic Eneloop Pro NiMH anyway (2550mAh typical capacity). Below I will show results for both these cells and the older Sanyo Eneloop 2000mAh capacity cells.

    Note that all my standard runtimes are done under a cooling fan, as always.













    The performance of the SC5 is simply outstanding. Overall efficiency and regulation are comparable to the SC52 on the lower levels (which was always best in class). But at the highest levels, the SC5 blows away anything in the class in terms of output.

    UPDATE JUNE 28, 2015: For those of you wondering how the SC5 on Eneloop Pro compares to the SC52 on AW 14500:



    UPDATE JULY 1, 2015: For those of you wondering if there is an undocumented and uncalibrated PID that could still kick in on non-cooled run, here is a comparison:



    Although there is a slight drop-off in output over time (after timed step-down), the light never triggers a typical PID step-down in my testing. Since it is hard to see the initial difference on the graph above, here is blow-up, on a 1-sec scale resolution



    Basically, there is no difference. I've done a couple of re-tests, and the small jump up can occur at variable times (i.e., doesn't seem to be heat related).


    UPDATE JULY 2, 2015: Repeated re-starts on H1 are compared below:



    As you can see, there is no evidence of a PID being engaged at any point. The eventual step-down to lower levels occurs as normal. Note that I got just under ~25 mins on my Eneloop Pro before the light dropped to the lower levels (with only a few seconds for each step-down before re-starting). Note that I do NOT recommend you force repeated restarts of the H1 level on the SC5. This is clearly not what the manufacturer intends, and it is not good for a NiMH to be driven to those kinds of levels indefinitely.


    Potential Issues

    The voltage limit has been lowered to 2V, so 14500 is NOT supported. But given the incredibly high output level on NiMH, there would be no point anyway. Newer NiMH cells have a greater capacity to do work than 14500. Do not attempt to use 14500 cells in the SC5.

    Given the heavily-driven nature on the highest levels, stick with good quality NiMH. Alkaline batteries will not perform well at all on these levels. Fresh L91 lithium shows a lower H1 max output initially (likely due to the low resting voltage), but it rises over time as you drain off some capacity.

    Light uses a timed step-down from the highest output level (unlike other recent Zebralight models, where all output changes are controlled by a PID).

    The SC5 is slightly larger than earlier 1xAA models (although still reasonable).

    Switch timings take a little getting used, if you aren’t already familiar with Zebralight.

    Preliminary Observations

    The SC5 is another hit-out-of-the-park home run for Zebralight in the 1xAA class.

    I was impressed with the earlier SC51 and SC52 models when they were released. Although both lights had some small issues, each was an improvement over earlier versions – and each helped set a new standard for efficiency and max output on regular AA batteries. With the SC5, Zebralight has succeeded in making 14500 obsolete – you get equivalent max output, with greater runtime, using regular NIMH batteries here.

    With the slightly larger head of the SC5, Zebralight was able to use their current regulation circuit (with its temperature sensors and 384 possible sub-levels necessary for PID regulation, as used on the PD62 and SC600-II). In this case however, they haven't calibrated a PID for the SC5, and have opted instead for timed step-down on the max H1 level (which is a lot simpler to program, apparently). I do not recommend you attempt to circumvent this with regular restarts of the H1 mode on the SC5 - the light (and NiMH batteries) are not intended to be run at such high drain levels indefinitely.

    Output/runtime efficiency remains top-of-class for the SC5, very similar to the SC52 on the lower levels. As always, I quite like the low battery voltage step-down feature (on all levels), as it means you will never get stuck with no light without warning. Regulation patterns are excellent, in my view. Keep in mind however than only standard AA/NiMH batteries are supported now (i.e., no 14500). But that's hardly a loss, given the equivalent output they have managed to achieve.

    The switch feel and user interface is basically unchanged from the other recent Zebralight models – and will seem very familiar to Zebralight owners.

    Due to the larger head and smooth reflector, the beam pattern of the SC5 is slightly "throwier" than the earlier 1xAA models. It's not a huge difference - although the greater max output also helps to further extend the max reach of the light.

    When it was released two and half years ago, I was very impressed with what the SC52 could do on standard batteries. But this new SC5 effectively doubles the max output on a regular NiMH AA battery. I am just blown away by what they have achieved. Coupled with its outstanding efficiency and excellent regulation, the SC5 seems like a no-brainer for this class. If you want to impress people with how far AA lights have come, you will want to have this light.

    ----

    SC5 was supplied by Zebralight for review.
    Last edited by selfbuilt; 07-06-2015 at 09:12 AM.
    Full list of all my reviews: flashlightreviews.ca. Latest hobby: whiskyanalysis.com. Latest flashlight review: Thrunite TN42.
    Gratefully accepting donations to my battery fund.

  2. #2
    *Flashaholic* kj2's Avatar
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    Default Re: Zebralight SC5 (1xAA, XM-L2) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO and more!

    It's a really nice light. Like the design and the extra body it got. Glad I bought one. Thanks for the review

  3. #3
    Flashaholic* WarRaven's Avatar
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    Default Re: Zebralight SC5 (1xAA, XM-L2) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO and more!

    Great review SB!

    I'm Jones'in for this light now.

    Enablers!!!

    👍

  4. #4
    Flashaholic*
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    Default Re: Zebralight SC5 (1xAA, XM-L2) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO and more!

    Thank you for the review! It is a nice light pushing such lumens with only one eneloop. Impressive.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Zebralight SC5 (1xAA, XM-L2) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO and more!

    Wow, thank you for your review! This might end up being my first Zebralight.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Zebralight SC5 (1xAA, XM-L2) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO and more!

    Is there any way you could show a graph comparing a sc52 on 14500 compared to this on one of the enloops? To us sc52 owners that is the comparison we are after.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Zebralight SC5 (1xAA, XM-L2) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by jruser View Post
    Is there any way you could show a graph comparing a sc52 on 14500 compared to this on one of the enloops? To us sc52 owners that is the comparison we are after.
    That's a good idea - here you go:



    Pretty conclusive to me as to the advantage of Eneloop Pro on the SC5. And not just for the efficiency and output gains, but also the ability to keep the low voltage warning by low mode step-downs is very helpful.
    Last edited by selfbuilt; 07-01-2015 at 08:22 AM.
    Full list of all my reviews: flashlightreviews.ca. Latest hobby: whiskyanalysis.com. Latest flashlight review: Thrunite TN42.
    Gratefully accepting donations to my battery fund.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Zebralight SC5 (1xAA, XM-L2) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO and more!

    Had a sc5w since they were released. It is an amazing amount of light for a 1xaa eneloop pro. The added bulk and weight of the sc5 actually feels good in the hand and more substantial than the sc52. Glad that I don't need to keep buying 14500 batteries. Zebralight did a great job with this light as with all their lights that I own. Thanks for another appreciated review.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Zebralight SC5 (1xAA, XM-L2) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO and more!

    Another excellent review Selfbuilt! I've been using my SC5w for the last month or so and agree that it's a remarkable amount of light for a NiMH AA torch. I was interested in a couple of your assertions, the first being (1) ...that the SC5 is an upgrade to the SC52? I didn't really know that. You're probably right, but thus far I guess I viewed the SC5 (right or wrong) as perhaps another "series" of light(s) targeting NiMH usage exclusively, as opposed to a multiple AA format cell light, the SC52, that pays a small lumen penalty for flexibility?

    Also, (2) I'm a little surprised at the SC5's efficiency test results. In addition to using the SC5 for the last few weeks, I've also had 6 or so versions of the SC52/SC52 L2 pass through my hands and have used them extensively and (nothing scientific here) my general impression of the SC5 vs. the SC52/ SC52w/ SC52w L2 etc. is that the run time is a little greater/better from the 14500 powered SC52's...than the Eneloop Pro powered SC5w? I suppose it's just my imagination since I believe your test results, but I think I'm being influenced by the way the voltage meter on the SC5 seems to read less then 4 flashes after just a short usage, as opposed to the 14500 powered SC52's which shows 4 flashes much longer and after more lighting duty?

    Overall I like both the SC5 and SC52 a lot but still prefer the SC52's size better for EDC.
    Last edited by cyclesport; 06-27-2015 at 04:20 PM.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Zebralight SC5 (1xAA, XM-L2) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO and more!

    I'm not a fan of 1xAA lights - I find the 2xAA length more secure in the hand - but I'm thoroughly impressed by the output Zebralight have managed to extract from a single AA cell. Well done to them!

    I'd love to see what Zebralight could get out of two AA cells (hint, hint ).

    Thanks for the review, Selfbuilt - lots of food for thought in there!
    Phlogiston is the main constituent of Magic Smoke.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Zebralight SC5 (1xAA, XM-L2) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by cyclesport View Post
    ...
    I suppose it's just my imagination since I believe your test results, but I think I'm being influenced by the way the voltage meter on the SC5 seems to read less then 4 flashes after just a short usage, as opposed to the 14500 powered SC52's which shows 4 flashes much longer and after more lighting duty?
    ...
    I suspect this part might be heavily affected by the chemistry differences in the two battery types. The best reference I could come up with at short notice are two bookmarks on HJKs site:
    http://lygte-info.dk/info/Comparison...stry%20UK.html
    http://lygte-info.dk/info/BatteryCha...cent%20UK.html

    If you pay close attention (I guess the 0.1A NiMH discharge curves are the best ones to compare with the resting voltages on the second lithium ion related URL) you'll observe that Lithium ion is a lot more linear until it finally drops off, NiMH drops a lot initially and then very fast again towards the end. Also in my own experience lithium ion rechargeables recover faster to their resting voltage than NiMH, so after using the torch give your sc5w's battery some time to recover and then do the 4x click maybe this'll make the indications more consistent?

    I remember back when I used my sc52w a lot more that at times after a fair period on high 4x click would reveal 1 flash, but given some time to rest it'd either do 2 or 3 a minute later.

  12. #12

    Default Zebralight SC5 (1xAA, XM-L2) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by cyclesport View Post
    I'm being influenced by the way the voltage meter on the SC5 seems to read less then 4 flashes after just a short usage, as opposed to the 14500 powered SC52's which shows 4 flashes much longer and after more lighting duty?
    Voltage is not a good indication of remaining capacity for NiMH.

    Hope they send you a SC5w to test too
    Last edited by Mr Floppy; 06-27-2015 at 05:31 PM.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Zebralight SC5 (1xAA, XM-L2) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by PieDemon View Post
    I suspect this part might be heavily affected by the chemistry differences in the two battery types. The best reference I could come up with at short notice are two bookmarks on HJKs site:
    http://lygte-info.dk/info/Comparison...stry%20UK.html
    http://lygte-info.dk/info/BatteryCha...cent%20UK.html

    If you pay close attention (I guess the 0.1A NiMH discharge curves are the best ones to compare with the resting voltages on the second lithium ion related URL) you'll observe that Lithium ion is a lot more linear until it finally drops off, NiMH drops a lot initially and then very fast again towards the end. Also in my own experience lithium ion rechargeables recover faster to their resting voltage than NiMH, so after using the torch give your sc5w's battery some time to recover and then do the 4x click maybe this'll make the indications more consistent?

    I remember back when I used my sc52w a lot more that at times after a fair period on high 4x click would reveal 1 flash, but given some time to rest it'd either do 2 or 3 a minute later.
    Yup..battery voltage sag with loads this great are present in both chemistries, but higher voltage Li-ion's seem to sustain it better. I run most of my lights with Li-ions and rarely use Eneloops other than in remotes, cameras, etc. And you're correct...that when some time passes after using each light (SC5 & SC52), the flash count goes up one or two "flashes" sometimes, with the Li-ion recovering much quicker...and it had seemed, perhaps incorrectly by me, that the Li-ion pwr'd SC52 lasted a few days longer in general use.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Zebralight SC5 (1xAA, XM-L2) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO and more!

    Thank you for sharing another great review SB. Really just in time. I got my SC5 just two days ago and I really love it. Was really amazed by great amount of light that it emits on a 1xAA battery. Though a bit larger than the SC52, I still like its overall performance and capabilities. Again, thanks for the review.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Zebralight SC5 (1xAA, XM-L2) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Floppy View Post
    Voltage is not a good indication of remaining capacity for NiMH.
    Indeed it isn't. That's why I don't recommend people rely on it too much here - certainly not when trying to compare to other lights (especially Li-ion).

    Hope they send you a SC5w to test too
    I doubt that. I typically only receive one sample of a given model.
    Full list of all my reviews: flashlightreviews.ca. Latest hobby: whiskyanalysis.com. Latest flashlight review: Thrunite TN42.
    Gratefully accepting donations to my battery fund.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Zebralight SC5 (1xAA, XM-L2) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO and more!

    If ZebraLight doesn't send you an SC5w to test I hope someone else does -- the warm version has the nicest tint I've seen on any ZL.
    Oveready Boss 35 & 70; LensLight Mini; HDS Rotary 325 XP-L, Clicky 170W, Rotary 250; ZebraLight SC600w Mk III HI, SC600W, SC62W, SC60W, SC52W, SC51C, SC5W; EagleTac NW D25LC2, NW D25A, DX30LC2 Clicky; Fenix PD35; Quark Ti AA & 2-123-T; Quark AA-T and 123-2-T; Nitecore D10R2 and D10R2 (Tribute)

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Zebralight SC5 (1xAA, XM-L2) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO and more!

    Wow. This one looks really impressive. Thanks for the review.

    eala

  18. #18

    Default Re: Zebralight SC5 (1xAA, XM-L2) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO and more!

    Jebus, 500+ lumens off a NIMH. Was only a few years ago we were like, "500+ lumens off a single li-on is insane".

  19. #19

    Default Re: Zebralight SC5 (1xAA, XM-L2) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by AFearlessBirdOfParadise View Post
    Jebus, 500+ lumens off a NIMH. Was only a few years ago we were like, "500+ lumens off a single li-on is insane".
    Not just any NiMH though. The eneloop has revolutionised high drain in a regular consumer market. The specialist cells like the elite 1700 and 2000 were always able to deliver big current but had limited itself to the hobbyist.

    That said, SB, are the cells you have the Japanese or Chinese made eneloops? I think the north American market is a mix of both.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Zebralight SC5 (1xAA, XM-L2) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO and more!

    Great review for great flashlight

    Thanks selfbuilt

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Zebralight SC5 (1xAA, XM-L2) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO and more!

    Great review, I have one question about something you mentioned, though:

    Quote Originally Posted by selfbuilt View Post
    With the slightly larger head of the SC5, Zebralight was able to adapt their current PID thermal regulation circuit, with its temperature sensors and 384 possible sub-levels (also used on the PD62 and SC600-II). In this case however, they have kept a timed step-down for the max level (which is a lot simpler to program, apparently).
    Are you saying that the SC5 uses PID to control output, if the light gets too hot? (In addition to a 3-minute timer on max.) IOW, if you didn't use a cooling fan, that your output graphs might step-down as the light gets hot (before the battery runs out)?

  22. #22

    Default Re: Zebralight SC5 (1xAA, XM-L2) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Floppy View Post
    That said, SB, are the cells you have the Japanese or Chinese made eneloops? I think the north American market is a mix of both.
    That's right, it is. I have always made a point to ensure I am using the made-in-Japan ones, to guarantee consistency. It does require some hunting around though.
    Quote Originally Posted by WalkIntoTheLight View Post
    Are you saying that the SC5 uses PID to control output, if the light gets too hot? (In addition to a 3-minute timer on max.) IOW, if you didn't use a cooling fan, that your output graphs might step-down as the light gets hot (before the battery runs out)?
    A good point, I have been meaning to test that. I know from Zebralight that they opted not to calibrate the PID for the SC5 specifically (and so relied on the simpler timed step-down from max). But I presume the PID should still work to limit heat on non-cooled runs if necessary. I will test when I get a chance and report back.

    UPDATE: see testing results in post #34.
    Last edited by selfbuilt; 07-01-2015 at 08:39 AM.
    Full list of all my reviews: flashlightreviews.ca. Latest hobby: whiskyanalysis.com. Latest flashlight review: Thrunite TN42.
    Gratefully accepting donations to my battery fund.

  23. #23

    Default Re: Zebralight SC5 (1xAA, XM-L2) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO and more!

    Great review like always Selfbuilt! Anyone know if the light flashes when the battery get's low?

    Despite the bad luck I had with the SC600 switch I had, I'm tempted to give this light a try...
    Last edited by Badbeams3; 06-28-2015 at 08:20 AM.

  24. #24

    Default Re: Zebralight SC5 (1xAA, XM-L2) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO and more!

    i like this light!!
    Last edited by kreisl; 06-28-2015 at 06:51 PM.

  25. #25
    *Flashaholic* StarHalo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Zebralight SC5 (1xAA, XM-L2) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO and more!

    Car headlight output with 1xAA, what an age we live in..

  26. #26

    Default Re: Zebralight SC5 (1xAA, XM-L2) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO and more!

    One additional comment I for got to include in my previous post. Where the clip contacts the body is not dished out like the sc52 and sc32. This makes the clip on the sc5 a little harder to use and harder on the clothes. I carried the sc52 clipped to my front pocket on the inside and tried the sc5. Both are hard on the material of the paints but the sc5 especially so. I now carry an sc32 which like the sc52 has a dished out portion under the clip. One of my few complaints on a great light.

  27. #27

    Default Re: Zebralight SC5 (1xAA, XM-L2) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by kreisl View Post



    timeline's off?
    Agreed; selfbuilt please double-check horizontal calibration.

  28. #28

    Default Re: Zebralight SC5 (1xAA, XM-L2) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by selfbuilt View Post
    A good point, I have been meaning to test that. I know from Zebralight that they opted not to calibrate the PID for the SC5 specifically (and so relied on the simpler timed step-down from max). But I presume the PID should still work to limit heat on non-cooled runs. I will test when I get a chance and report back.
    I was a bit surprised when I read that they opted not to calibrate the PID for the SC5 specifically. Last fall I received a Zebralight H32w that did not work properly, and in their response to my query, Zebralight told me this sounded like an uncalibrated light. Below is a copy of my email to Zebralight.

    Do you think that the PID for the SC5 is indeed calibrated, but in a "one size fits all"-manner? If I understand correctly, in order to get maximum performance the PID has to be individually calibrated for each unit - a somewhat lengthy process - but if not calibrated at all the light will not operate at peak perfomance, at least not in my case.

    If they increased the size of the head in order to make room for the PID circuit, it doesn't make sense that they would then disable it, and apparently uncalibrated lights do not work very well, so maybe the PID for the SC5 is calibrated for the average SC5?


    Quote Originally Posted by Swede74 View Post

    H32W PID REGULATION

    I recently purchased a Zebralight H32W, and have a question about the PID regulation of the output on H1 (446 lm). When I turn on the light (at room temperature, 20 C, powered by an AW ICR 123 750 mAh cell) output immediately starts to decline over the course of about 10 seconds. It stabilizes at an output level roughly equal to H2 (245 lm). After another 1-2.5 minutes (closer to 2.5 minutes if the light is cool, and closer to 1 minute if the light is warm) the light suddenly jumps back to an output which is significantly brighter than H2 (245 lm). If I then leave the light on, it runs for 20-25 minutes without any detectable change in output, then abruptly steps down to the medium setting. At this point the light is very hot to the touch, ~50 C according to a cooking thermometer.

    Runtimes on H2, again using an AW ICR123 750 mAh cell, seem normal: ~2h @ 100 lm or ~48 min @ 245 lm.

    Unfortunately the immediate drop in output when the light is turned on – H1 is essentially H2 for the first 1-2.5 minutes – and the subsequent, somewhat haphazard increase in output combined with what appears to be a lack of response to high temperature makes the H1 level practically useless.

    I would also like to know if I may post a copy of your reply to this inquiry on www.candlepowerforums.com.

    Sincerely,
    I received a very prompt response from Zebralight

    I was given permission to post their response, but since they have agreed to waive claims to privacy in their email to me rather than in the open forum, I think I would be technically violating rule #12 by posting it in full or a directly quoting it, so I will try to paraphrase:

    They told me that flashlights and headlamps with the PID feature have to go through a long 'parameter' calibration process before leaving the factory, and that what I described looks like an uncalibrated light. I was also informed that calibration is done through a serial communication port in the H32w so there is no need to take the headlamp apart. I will still have to send the headlamp back to Zebralight for calibration.

    They will get me a RMA tomorrow.

  29. #29

    Default Re: Zebralight SC5 (1xAA, XM-L2) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO and more!

    Well I ordered one despite the bad luck I had with Zebralight in the past. But if this switch fails...I'm going to be really pissed...at myself, for not learning my lesson the first time. And of course I will put the blame squarely where it belongs, on Selfbuilt. My excuse...I needed a light to run extra Eneloop Pro's in...bought 8 for the TN4A...and have yet to need to recharge, still waiting to see that blue light turn red...so have 4 to many (a twisted way to see it perhaps, but it's my excuse and I'm sticking to it).

    I decided to go with the neutral white even though it is 35 lumen less (according to Zebralight specs).

  30. #30

    Default Re: Zebralight SC5 (1xAA, XM-L2) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by Badbeams3 View Post
    Well I ordered one despite the bad luck I had with Zebralight in the past. But if this switch fails...I'm going to be really pissed...at myself, for not learning my lesson the first time. And of course I will put the blame squarely where it belongs, on Selfbuilt. My excuse...I needed a light to run extra Eneloop Pro's in...bought 8 for the TN4A...and have yet to need to recharge, still waiting to see that blue light turn red...so have 4 to many (a twisted way to see it perhaps, but it's my excuse and I'm sticking to it).

    I decided to go with the neutral white even though it is 35 lumen less (according to Zebralight specs).
    I didn't learn from about 7 lessons, so...I guess it depends on what kind of beating you are willing to take Heck, I'm tempted to try this exact model again! I really don't have enough 1xAA lights.
    GOOD TINT!

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