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Thread: Nitecore EC4SW measurements (2x18650, neutral white)

  1. #1
    Flashaholic* maukka's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2015

    Default Nitecore EC4SW measurements (2x18650, neutral white)

    Made from a solid block of aero grade aluminum alloy, the Nitecore EC4SW has a unique look to it. It is very comfortable to hold, even though there has been reports of varying machining quality to the knurling and edges. My sample has a bit of graininess to the tailcap threads even after cleaning and lubing with a silicon grease.

    Manufacturer specifications

    * Battery type: 2x18650, 4x CR123A, 4x RCR123/16340
    * LED: Cree MT-G2
    * Color temperature: Neutral white
    * Body material: Aluminum, die-cast unibody
    * Waterproof: Yes, IPX-8
    * Impact resistance: 1.5 m
    * Switch type: Dual side clicky (power, mode)
    * Lens: Glass
    * Reflector: Orange peel, micro-texture
    * Battery protection: Voltage indicator, battery polarity
    * Regulation: Advanced Temperature Regulation (ATR)
    * Tail stand: Yes
    * Tripod threads: Yes (tail)

    * Length: 151,3 mm
    * Head width: 40,1 mm
    * Minimum handle width: 25,2 mm
    * Weight: 172 g

    Manufacturer information. ANSI/NEMA FL1 data measured with 2x Nitecore 18650 2600 mAh and 2x Nitecore CR123 1700 mAh batteries.

    * Modes: 5
    * Special modes: Beacon (0,5 Hz), sos, strobe (16 Hz)
    * Mode memory: Yes
    * Button lock: Yes
    * Direct access from off: Ultralow, Turbo, Strobe
    * Beam throw: 238 m
    * Beam intensity: 14200 cd

    Included in the package:
    Nitecore EC4SW flashlight
    Hard nylon holster
    User manual

    The UI is simple and intuitive. With the two buttons, power on and mode, the operation is simple, even though cycling both ways (up/down) is not possible.

    There's direct access to Ultralow, Turbo and Strobe. Ultralow is activated from off by pressing the on/off switch for about one second. Turbo activates similarly with the mode switch. Strobe is accessible from off by double clicking the mode switch.

    When the light is on, holding the mode switch enters strobe mode and additional long presses cycle through beacon/sos/strobe.

    Strobe has a 16 Hz cycling frequency. Beacon has a short flash every 2 seconds.

    The buttons can be locked out by pressing and holding both switches for a second when the light is off. This prevents accidental activation. Unlocking is done in the same way.

    There is no low voltage protection, but a power indicator can estimate the remaining life in the batteries. This is done by pressing the mode switch when the light is off. Three blinks means that the charge is over 50 %, two blinks means under 50 % and one blink means close to depletion. Battery indicator also activates automatically after inserting new batteries and screwing the tailcap in.

    Cree MT-G2 with a finely textured orange peel reflector.

    The tailcap is screwed in and it has a tripod thread.

    The tint is neutral white (4960 K) with no discernible hue towards green or magenta. According to my measurements, the tint is purest on turbo. Color rendering at 72 is only average, but the neutral tint makes up for it. Just don't use the light to do critical color work.

    Nitecore EC4SW (2x18650), Eagletac D25LC2 (18650), Zebralight H600Fd III (18650)

    Please note: lumen measurements are only rough estimates
    My diy 30/40 cm integrating styrofoam spheres have been calibrated using a Fenix E05 on high with manufacturer’s claim of 85 lumens. Verified with an Olight S10 that has been measured with a Labsphere FS2 integrating sphere by Results may be more inaccurate with especially throwy or floody lights.

    For spectral information and CRI calculations I have an X-rite i1Pro spectrophotometer with HCFR for the plot and ArgyllCMS spotread.exe for the data. For runtime tests I use spotread.exe with a custom script and a i1Display Pro because it doesn’t require calibration every 30 minutes like the i1Pro.

    Explanation of abbreviations
    CCT = correlated color temperature, higher temperature means cooler (bluish)
    CRI (Ra) = color rendering index consisting of 8 different colors (R1-R8), max value 100
    CRI (R9) = color rendering index with deep red, usually difficult for led based light sources, max value 100
    TLCI = television lighting consistency index, max value 100
    CQS (Qa) = Proposed replacement for CRI, RMS average of 15 color samples
    CRI2012 (Ra,2012) = Another proposed replacement for CRI, consists of 17 color samples
    MCRI = Color rendering index based on the memory of colors or 9 familiar objects
    x,y = coordinates on a CIE 1931 chart

    I was not able to verify the claimed lumen output of 2000. With my 40 cm diy styrofoam sphere and using a pair of LG MH1 18650 batteries I measured 1705 lumens at 0 seconds and 1590 lumens at 30 seconds. Neither Samsung 30Q or Sanyo NCR18650BL had any notable effect to output. Take the output measurements with a grain of salt though, since the sphere is far from perfect and I don't have a verified reference light with this high of an output and a similar beam profile. Also the advertised beam intensity is significantly higher than what I measured (14200 cd vs. 10000 cd), but then again, none of my lux meters are calibrated.

    The output is consistently 20 % lower than advertised down to Medium. However, Low only provides about half of the listed lumens. I really don't know what is going on in here. Maybe these anomalies have something to do with the new driver, which does not have PWM like the earlier revisions and the specs just have not been updated yet.

    Spectral distribution (Turbo)

    Color rendering (Turbo)

    Read more on color rendering indices here:

    Beam and tint

    The beam angle is 62° with a hotspot of 20°.

    The tint has a slight shift in the spill with a visibly warmer area in the corona around the hotspot. Generally the variation is quite moderate and is only distracting when lighting up a white surface. In practice the whole beam looks quite natural all the way to the outer edges. Still not as consistent as in the frosted Zebralights for example.

    Tint in different brightness modes

    There is no pwm on any mode.
    Note: older revisions have been reported to have PWM on the lower modes.

    Runtime (Turbo and High)

    Batteries used: 2x LG MH1 with a rated capacity of 3200 mAh (0.62 A to 2.5 volts). I measured 3000 mAh at 1 A down to 3.0 volts with a SkyRC MC3000.
    Runtime was significantly longer than advertised. On turbo I got 1 hour 50 minutes to 10 % as opposed to the stated 45 minutes. Nitecore has done their runtime tests (down to 10 % according to ANSI/NEMA FL1) with a pair of 2600 mAh batteries, which still doesn't explain the difference.
    On high, the output is rock solid until 2 hours 23 minutes when it starts to slowly decline and reaches 50 % at 2 hours 53 minutes and finally 10 % at 3 hours 15 minutes.

    Temperature and regulation
    Temperature tests were done in room temperature (24°C).

    The ATR (Advanced Thermal Regulation) function works really well. The output is regulated to keep the head at about 65°C max. When the light is cooled the output increases correspondingly. You can repeat this process as many times as you like.

    Thermal image taken on Turbo at 45 minutes with alternating fan on and off (see runtime above). The heat spreads evenly just like advertised. Difference between the hottest part and the average on the handle is only about 5 degrees after the light has had time to reach equilibrium. Even after 5 minutes the difference is only about 10 degrees.

    First 5 minutes on Turbo without a fan.
    Last edited by maukka; 10-31-2016 at 10:58 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Ontario, Canada

    Default Re: Nitecore EC4SW measurements (2x18650, neutral white)

    Excellent review maukka, one of the best I've seen Keep up the good work man.

  3. #3
    Enlightened ms1496's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    NE Ohio

    Default Re: Nitecore EC4SW measurements (2x18650, neutral white)

    Great review! Just ordered one of these a week ago and was wondering how the color temperature would fair against some of the other neutral tinted lights I own. The spectral graphs are definitely a nice touch

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Ontario, Canada

    Default Re: Nitecore EC4SW measurements (2x18650, neutral white)

    Cool thermal video maukka.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2009

    Default Re: Nitecore EC4SW measurements (2x18650, neutral white)

    Wow, what a great review of a great light. Nice job

  6. #6

    Default Re: Nitecore EC4SW measurements (2x18650, neutral white)

    Thanks for the great review. I ordered one a few weeks ago and can't wait to get it.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Nitecore EC4SW measurements (2x18650, neutral white)

    Thanks for review, I was curious how the MT-G2 version measured in reality. Provided a good sample can be had through a groupbuy it seems like a decent light and a unique form factor.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Nitecore EC4SW measurements (2x18650, neutral white)

    I absolutely love this light. Pure clean white...not warm or cool.

  9. #9
    Flashaholic* SCEMan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005

    Default Re: Nitecore EC4SW measurements (2x18650, neutral white)

    Thanks for a very thorough and useful review!
    Your performance findings correlate closely to the EC4SW I had.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    NE/SW Alabama

    Default Re: Nitecore EC4SW measurements (2x18650, neutral white)

    Great review and the "thermal video" was fantastic!!!!
    Thank you............

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2003

    Default Re: Nitecore EC4SW measurements (2x18650, neutral white)

    Moving this to Flashlight Reviews.


  12. #12

    Default Re: Nitecore EC4SW measurements (2x18650, neutral white)

    I haven't used mine in a long time due to the fact it drains batteries in no time. Almost to the point of being useless. Unscrewing the tailcap...well, it's one of the least friendly to do so that's out. I measured my parasitic drain to be fairly low, but I guess in real life it isn't.

    Too bad because I was really enjoying this light yesterday to do some things around the house and outside. The output and tint are just amazing. The UI is quick and simple too.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Nitecore EC4SW measurements (2x18650, neutral white)

    Similar experience, I liked the light but have since quit using it since it would drain a pair of 3500mAh 18650s in a month just sitting around

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2014

    Default Re: Nitecore EC4SW measurements (2x18650, neutral white)

    The parasitic drain on mine seems to be lower than yours, since it will last more than a month. The drain on my Xt11S is worse, so, because the XT11S is just an ok light its annoying. On the other hand because the EC4SW is a very nice light, I feel its well worth the hassle to pop the batteries on the charger every two or three weeks to top them off.

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