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Thread: Performance Review: NITECORE Group Test EA11, EC11, EA41 2015 and MH20

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    Default Performance Review: NITECORE Group Test EA11, EC11, EA41 2015 and MH20

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Author's Statement for Transparency and Disclosure
    The test sample/s featured in this article have been provided for technical testing and review by the manufacturer. Test samples are retained by the reviewer following publication of the completed review for the purposes of long term testing and product comparisons.

    All output figures and test results published in this review are the sole work of the reviewer, and are carried out independently and without bias. Test results are reported as found, with no embellishments or alteration. Though best endeavours are made to maintain the accuracy of test equipment, the accuracy of these results is not guaranteed and is subject to the test equipment functioning correctly.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    As a ‘Performance Review', this thread contains the measured output and runtime figures for the NITECORE EC11, EA11, MH20 and EA41 2015





    Why a 'Performance Review'?:

    In some cases I'm only able to run some of the technical tests on a particular light. A 'Performance Review' in intended to provide an outlet for this information and a placeholder for further updates and discussion.




    The group on test here are a set of small powerhouses from NITECORE. The EC11 and EA11 are high performance pocket rockets where IMR cells are recommended, the MH20 is called a ‘pocket searchlight’ by NITECORE, and the EA41 is a great AA-powered mini searchlight.





    The beam

    Please be careful not to judge tint based on images you see on a computer screen. Unless properly calibrated, the screen itself will change the perceived tint.
    The indoor beamshot is intended to give an idea of the beam shape/quality rather than tint. All beamshots are taken using daylight white balance. The woodwork (stairs and skirting) are painted Farrow & Ball "Off-White", and the walls are a light sandy colour called 'String' again by Farrow & Ball. I don't actually have a 'white wall' in the house to use for this, and the wife won't have one!



    So you can see the different beams, here are the beamshots for each light in an animated gif. Indoor beamshots first.

    For both indoor and outdoor the exposure of each frame is the same and each light was on its highest output setting with the photograph taken as close to the ‘30s from turn on’ as possible.




    And onto the outdoor beamshots.





    Modes and User Interface:

    Please see the manufacturer’s website for details of the user interface.



    Batteries and output:

    The EC11 runs on CR123, RCR123 and 18350.
    The EA11 runs on AA or 14500
    The MH20 runs on and recharges 18650
    The EA41 2015 runs on 4xAA

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

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

    ___________________________________________ ________________________________ ________________________________
    EC11 using specified cell I.S. measured ANSI output Lumens PWM frequency or Strobe frequency (Hz)
    ___________________________________________ ________________________________ ________________________________
    Turbo – RCR123 707 0
    High – RCR123 389 250
    Medium – RCR123 211 250
    Low – RCR123 77 250
    Lower – RCR123 2 0
    Turbo – 18350 IMR 1036 0
    High – 18350 IMR 585 250
    Medium – 18350 IMR 305 250
    Low – 18350 IMR 99 250
    Lower – 18350 IMR 2 0

    * Beacon and Strobe output measurements are only estimates as the brief flashes make it difficult to capture the actual output value.
    A note on Strobe – Starting 2016 I will not be measuring any Strobe outputs

    Peak Beam intensity measured 10700lx @1m giving a beam range of 207m.

    There is parasitic drain at 80uA meaning it will drain a 650mAh cell in 339 days.



    ___________________________________________ ________________________________ ________________________________
    EA11 using specified cell I.S. measured ANSI output Lumens PWM frequency or Strobe frequency (Hz)
    ___________________________________________ ________________________________ ________________________________
    Turbo – AA NiMh 190 0
    High – AA NiMh 101 0
    Medium – AA NiMh 45 0
    Low – AA NiMh 24 0
    Lower – AA NiMh 2 0
    Turbo – AW 14500 IMR 991 0
    High – AW 14500 IMR 551 250
    Medium – AW 14500 IMR 294 250
    Low – AW 14500 IMR 103 250
    Lower – AW 14500 IMR 2 0

    * Beacon and Strobe output measurements are only estimates as the brief flashes make it difficult to capture the actual output value.
    A note on Strobe – Starting 2016 I will not be measuring any Strobe outputs

    Peak Beam intensity measured 9300lx @1m giving a beam range of 193m.

    There is parasitic drain at 267uA using AA meaning it will take 297 days to drain a 1900mAh cell.
    There is parasitic drain at 206uA using 14500 meaning it will take 182 days to drain a 900mAh cell.


    For the EA11 and EC11 and the cell types used above, here are the runtime traces.




    The first part of the graph is a little congested, so here is just the first part.





    ___________________________________________ ________________________________ ________________________________
    MH20 using 18650 I.S. measured ANSI output Lumens PWM frequency or Strobe frequency (Hz)
    ___________________________________________ ________________________________ ________________________________
    Turbo 957 0
    High 563 0
    Medium 324 0
    Low 92 0
    Lower Below Threshold (<1.7)

    * Beacon and Strobe output measurements are only estimates as the brief flashes make it difficult to capture the actual output value.
    A note on Strobe – Starting 2016 I will not be measuring any Strobe outputs

    Peak Beam intensity measured 13800lx @1m giving a beam range of 235m.

    There is parasitic drain at 33.2uA meaning it will take 10.65 years to drain a 3100 mAh cell.



    ___________________________________________ ________________________________ ________________________________
    EA41 2015 using AA Eneloop I.S. measured ANSI output Lumens PWM frequency or Strobe frequency (Hz)
    ___________________________________________ ________________________________ ________________________________
    Turbo 945 0
    High 556 0
    Medium 139 0
    Low 48 0
    Lower 2 0

    * Beacon and Strobe output measurements are only estimates as the brief flashes make it difficult to capture the actual output value.
    A note on Strobe – Starting 2016 I will not be measuring any Strobe outputs

    Peak Beam intensity measured 31863lx @1m giving a beam range of 357m.

    There is parasitic drain, and just like the earlier version of the EA41 I reviewed there is an important feature to understand.

    On inserting fresh cells, the EA41 draws 565uA and would drain the cells in 140 days. Like this the EA41 is not flashing the switch or anything else, it just draws 565uA.

    If however you turn the EA41 on and off again, the drain drops to 80uA and would now take 990 days to drain the cells. A significant difference.


    The MH20 and EA41 2015’s runtimes compared.




    Finally all these traces together to give you an overall comparison.





    Troubleshooting

    This section is included to mention any minor niggles I come across during testing, in case the information helps anyone else.

    See the note on the EA41’s parasitic drain.

    As per the description of this section, this information is provided in case anyone else finds a similar 'issue' that might be fixed in the same way.



    A few comments

    I’d advise a closer look through the performance figures.

    You might note that the EA11 when running on AA does not use PWM, however when on 14500 uses 250Hz PWM on three modes. 250Hz is very apparent to me.

    For the EC11 the true performance is only realised with 18350 IMR. On RCR123 the EC11 is struggling, and CR123 is going to be overloaded. Beware of the EC11 and CR123 on Turbo.

    The MH20 is a strong performer. However remember that this is also a recharging light with built in micro-USB port. Using this internal charger, 18650s are brought to dead on 4.20V and it draws 0.53A when charging an empty cell. For a full charge of a 3100mAh cell, the MH20 consumed 15528mWh.

    The 2015 version of the EA41 has boosted output over the earlier EA41. The parasitic drain is also slightly lower, so a definite upgrade over the earlier version (though you would not ‘see’ the difference side by side). Remember that ‘feature’ where the parasitic drain is excessively high on inserting new cells until you switch it on and off the first time.


    There is a lot of detail in the reported results, so hopefully you will find this useful.





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    Last edited by subwoofer; 01-17-2016 at 05:07 AM.
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    Default Re: Performance Review: NITECORE Group Test EA11, EC11, EA41 2015 and MH20

    Reserved for updates...
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    Default Re: Performance Review: NITECORE Group Test EA11, EC11, EA41 2015 and MH20

    Thanks subwoofer,

    Great info,measurements and observations.

    The pwm on l-m-h in both the EC/EA 11,s is unfortunate .

    I appreciate all the data- beamshots, runtimes, output curves, pwm, candela and lumens. As your test shows the little 18350,s really can deliver current compared to 16340 and really gets the ec11 going. I also found the ea41 twin step down on turbo interesting which is different to my ea4.
    This sort of info is quite often disregarded by some reviewers and substituted with a cut and paste from the manufacturers specs. This is info i look forward to the most.

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    Default Re: Performance Review: NITECORE Group Test EA11, EC11, EA41 2015 and MH20

    Quote Originally Posted by swan View Post
    This sort of info is quite often disregarded by some reviewers and substituted with a cut and paste from the manufacturers specs. This is info i look forward to the most.
    Thanks

    I don't see the point in simply quoting the manufacturer's specifications, anyone can go to the manufacturer's web page and see those. The only observations, results and measurements I will quote are ones I've made myself.

    It has got to the point I can't start really using any light until I've made all these measurements (even for lights I buy myself) as I want to know what I'm really getting.
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    Default Re: Performance Review: NITECORE Group Test EA11, EC11, EA41 2015 and MH20

    Thanks for the review Subwoofer!

    But I am not happy at all with the new lights. What happened to fair statements? What happened to stable output? Yes, it is. But at MUCH lower outputs than the lights selling argument, caused by the lumen race, is based on.

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    Default Re: Performance Review: NITECORE Group Test EA11, EC11, EA41 2015 and MH20

    Quote Originally Posted by Swedpat View Post
    Thanks for the review Subwoofer!

    But I am not happy at all with the new lights. What happened to fair statements? What happened to stable output? Yes, it is. But at MUCH lower outputs than the lights selling argument, caused by the lumen race, is based on.

    Unfortunately we are now reaching the limits of the cells more than the limits of the lights themselves. Everyone wants smaller brighter lights and it brings us back to the old rule of "Small Size - High Output - Long Runtime > pick any two".

    Remember due to time constraints, I only run output tests on the maximum output for each cell type. The lower modes will regulated (for as long as the cells can cope).

    Take the EC11 with over 1000lm from a CR123 size light - insane and of course it can't keep it up. Those few minutes are fun though, and then back to reality and you will be using it on Medium, Low and Lower most of the time.
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    Default Re: Performance Review: NITECORE Group Test EA11, EC11, EA41 2015 and MH20

    Well; I have a few lights with turbo or burst mode too high for more than a few minutes use. While these levels can be useful for some purposes I didn't get the lights because of the maximum lumen number. One drawback with these ultra high lumen levels is that it gives the impression that the improvements of LED efficiency has gone much further than it actually has compared to a few years ago. Apart from that it gives ignorant buyers false expectations. Ok; the problem is what I can see the FL-1 standard which gives manufacturers legitimacy to state deceptive specifications.
    Last edited by Swedpat; 01-15-2016 at 10:10 AM.

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    Default Re: Performance Review: NITECORE Group Test EA11, EC11, EA41 2015 and MH20

    Quote Originally Posted by Swedpat View Post
    Well; I have a few lights with turbo or burst mode too high for more than a few minutes use. While these levels can be useful for some purposes I didn't get the lights because of the maximum lumen number. One drawback with these ultra high lumen levels is that it gives the impression that the improvements of LED efficiency has gone much further than it actually has compared to a few years ago. Apart from that it gives ignorant buyers false expectations.
    "Buyer beware" still as true as ever.

    This goes back to a point of discussion that has come up in many threads about ANSI rating specifications fuelling this lumen race and that the testing method should be changed to better reflect the sustained output capabilities of a light.
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    Default Re: Performance Review: NITECORE Group Test EA11, EC11, EA41 2015 and MH20

    Quote Originally Posted by subwoofer View Post
    "Buyer beware" still as true as ever.

    This goes back to a point of discussion that has come up in many threads about ANSI rating specifications fuelling this lumen race and that the testing method should be changed to better reflect the sustained output capabilities of a light.
    I think it had been better with some kind of "practically stable output" standard in which the runtime is measured until the brightness decline starts to be noticeable for the eyes. Maybe 70-75% of initial. That's the level I personally think is often required until I start to suspect it has become a bit dimmer. But to claim in the specifications "digitally regulated output" and at the same time allow the brightness to drop to 10% isn't fair, but very deceptive!
    Anyway; apologise if I hijacked the thread with this matter.

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    Default Re: Performance Review: NITECORE Group Test EA11, EC11, EA41 2015 and MH20

    Are you sure about the energy cosumption?

    For a full charge of a 3100mAh cell, the MH20 consumed 15528Wh.
    I guess you mean 15.528 Wh, not 15528 Wh, since that's more than the energy my 500 W computer can consume in a day.
    The darkness here is different.

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    Default Re: Performance Review: NITECORE Group Test EA11, EC11, EA41 2015 and MH20

    Quote Originally Posted by D6859 View Post
    Are you sure about the energy cosumption?



    I guess you mean 15.528 Wh, not 15528 Wh, since that's more than the energy my 500 W computer can consume in a day.
    Oops, thanks for spotting a missing 'm', as quite rightly that should have been in mWh so either 15528mWh or 15.528Wh
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