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Thread: Xtar Moon RC2 (5xLED flood light, rechargeable 2200mAh) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMS+

  1. #1

    Popcorn Xtar Moon RC2 (5xLED flood light, rechargeable 2200mAh) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMS+

    Reviewer's Note: I am very backlogged with lights, so expect less detail than typical in my upcoming reviews. I will prioritize results over text for the next little while.



    The Moon RC2 is a rechargeable flood light from Xtar. Featuring a very unique design, this could be seen as replacement for a headlamp – and one that you would wear on your belt, or clipped to a vest.

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

    • 5x Samsung 5630 LED (80+ CRI)
    • Output/Runtime: High 120 Lumens / 4.2hr – Mid 60 Lumens / 9hr – Low 30 Lumens / 16hr – Moonlight 3 Lumens / 120hr – Strobe 120 Lumens
    • Beam Intensity: 57cd
    • Beam Distance: 15m
    • Built-in rechargeable 2200mAh battery
    • Material: ABS+PC
    • Power source: 5V/1A
    • Charging Port: Micro USB
    • Weight: 87.5g
    • Size: L82.5mm * W55mm * H45mm
    • Impact resistant: 1.5m
    • Waterproof: IPX6
    • Package contains: Light, USB cable, User Manual, Warranty Card
    • MSRP: ~$20



    The packaging is a small box with specs print on the outside. Included inside the light, micro USB cable, manual card, warranty card.

    Xtar also included a small collapsible fanny-pouch for my assessment:





    A cute design, it would allow you to stash the light, or a small cell phone. Note that some of the newer, larger cell phones wouldn't fit in the waist pouch.

    And now, back to light ...



    For comparisons of the Moon below, I have chosen some of my recent headlamps. All dimensions directly measured, without battery installed (unless stated otherwise):

    Moon RC2 (battery included): Weight: 89.7g, Length: 84.1mm, Width: 54.7mm

    Fenix HP30: Head unit alone: 99g, Head unit with diffuser, head strap and wire: 169g, Battery compartment alone: 129.4g, Battery compartment with 18650 batteries 219g, complete unit (with headband, compartment and batteries): 388g
    Nitecore HC50: Weight 85.4g, Length: 86.0mm, Width (widest) 36.4mm
    Olight H15S Wave: (1xLi-ion, 4xAAA): Head alone: 42.2g, Battery compartment alone: 31.0g, Battery compartment alone with OPS-H15S Li-ion battery: 58.3g, Battery compartment alone with 4xAAA: 77.3g, complete unit (with basic headband and Li-ion battery): 118.1g
    Petzl Tikka XP2 (3xAAA): Weight: 52.3g, 88.4g with batteries
    Skilhunt H02: Weight: 61.3g, Length: 110.8mm, Width (widest): 28.0mm
    Spark ST5 (1xAA): Weight, 41.5g, Length 58.4mm, Width 42.8mm (max body), Width 24.0mm (bezel)
    Zebralight H31w (1xCR123A): Weight: 28.6g, Length 66.9mm, Width (bezel) 22.1mm.







    My sample of this egg-shaped unit was well made, with no obvious defects or damage. It comes in either blue or gray as the accent color. There is a larger diffuser cover that distributes the light evenly. As a result of the design, output is angled slightly downward in use (when carrying with switch button up).

    There is a robust pocket clip on the back, which held on securely in my testing. Thanks to this large clip, light can headstand and sidestand on a flat surface (as well as on its back, of course).

    The electronic button is easy to access on the top of the unit. Note there is a red and green LED under the button that indicates charging status, or when the battery is running down. The button lights up green in normal operation when on, and switches to red when the battery is almost drained (<45 mins remaining, according to Xtar). At <15 mins remaining, it starts to slowly flash red (again according to Xtar, I have not verified exact times). See below for the user interface.

    Under the side-mounted rubber dust cover on the side is a standard micro USB port (cable included). When plugged in and charging, the LED under the switch lights up red (charging) or green (fully charged). Scroll down for charging times.

    Beam was neutral white tinted on my sample, and very even (i.e., no hotspot, pure flood). The diffuser is not removable.

    User Interface

    Click the electronic switch to turn on.

    There are four main output levels controlled by a subsequent click of the switch. Mode sequence is Lo > Hi > Med > Moonlight > Off, in a repeating loop. Note that there is no mode memory, and it always activates in this sequence.

    To access Strobe, press and hold switch for ~1.5 secs (from either on or off). To turn off, click the switch.

    Note that this means that if you want to turn the light off, you need to either cycle through ALL the constant output modes, or activate Strobe first. There is no other way to turn the unit off.

    The light can be activated while charging.

    Video:

    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.

    PWM/Strobe



    As promised, the Moon RC2 is flicker-free – there no indication of pulse width modulation on any level, and I presume it is current-controlled.

    Strobe:


    A fast tactical Strobe mode is included (20 Hz). I don't see the point of this personally, and would have recommended a slow signaling strobe instead.

    Standby Drain

    As the switch is electronic in a nature, a standby current drain is always present. As the battery unit is not user-accessible, I cannot measure this. There is no lockout mode that I can see.

    In-Light Charging

    Because the light uses a USB charging cable, I was able to take direct measures of the charging parameters using my Xtar VI01 "USB Detector" (basically a specialized USB current/voltage meter). There are many of these on the market now, and this model was favorably reviewed by HKJ here.

    Using a 2A-rated AC charger, initial charging current was measured at 0.97A (5.32V input voltage).

    This rose slightly to 1.02A (5.34V) over the next 2.5 hours, at which point it started to drop slightly.

    At 3hrs, the charging was at 0.93A (5.34V).

    By 3hrs 20mins, charging was at 0.63A (5.32V).

    By 3hrs 40mins, charging was at 0.21A (5.30V).

    By 3hrs 50mins, charging had terminated 0.0A (5.09V).

    The LED switch light changes from red to green once termination occurs. This is a good charging algorithm and charge time. Note it will take longer if you are using a 0.5A rated USB port for charging.

    Beamshots

    For white-wall beamshots below, all lights are on Max output on their respective battery source. 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.







    You can't really tell much from these standard distance beamshots. The Moon is a full flood light, whereas the other headlamps all have reflectors or optics for focused throw (with some level of diffusion on top). This makes the Moon quite distinctive in my testing.

    Scroll down for actual beam distance and output 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 Charts:

    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 can see, there is no real "throw" for this light - it is a full flood, all around the unit.

    Here are the lumen estimates for all levels:



    It has a range of outputs, although I wish Moonlight and Lo were lower. And of course, I would prefer a different mode sequence (see discussion below).

    Runtimes

    All my runtimes are now done on 3100mAh 185650, which is not very fair for comparison. Most of my headlamps are AA/AAA-based, so that doesn't work well either. Instead, I am using below older flashlight data for comparison, based on AW 18650 protected 2200mAh cells (as the capacity rating is equivalent). All runtimes are done under a cooling fan.




    It is hard to provide accurate output measures for flood lights (and of course, you lose a fair amount of efficiency due to the diffuser). But it is probably fair to say that the Moon is not quite as efficient as typical light on 2200mAh. That said, it shows very stable flat-regulated output at all levels. It also seems to match the specs reasonably well.

    Potential Issues

    The main issue is the user interface: it has a very inconvenient order (i.e., Lo > Hi > Med > Moonlight), and you CANNOT turn it off without first going through ALL the modes (or through strobe first).

    Strobe is a very distracting tactical strobe (i.e., 20 Hz), instead of a more useful slow signaling one.

    The light is designed to be carried on a belt, or on strap/vest pocket around the chest – it is not meant to be used a headlamp (although could attach to a headband if necessary).

    It is a flood light only (i.e., only diffused output).

    As with all lights with electronic switches, the Moon requires a small stand-by current (that I cannot measure).

    Accidental activation is always a potential concern with electronic switches. There is no lockout mode that I can see.

    Lacks a true "moonlight" mode.

    Preliminary Observations

    I was intrigued by the design of the Moon RC2 – this is the first time I've seen a dedicated flood light meant to be worn at waist or chest level (instead of the more typical headlamp).

    When worn on a belt, it actually works very well for walking around at night. It shines a lot of light at your feet, and doesn't produce the usual upper-level reflections/distractions that headlamps can cause (especially for those of us who wear glasses). The unit seems well designed, and can be angled in a number of ways on a flat surface, or hung from a height, increasing its versatility.

    I like the in-light charging feature, using a standard micro-USB cable. Charging worked well in my testing.

    Overall output/runtime efficiency is a bit low (likely due to the use of the diffuser), but with very stable flat-regulated output.

    I also like the beam, which is neutral-white tinted, and free of artifacts. The beam is stable - there is no sign of PWM or other flicker, which is a definite bonus.

    But what mars this light for me is the (frankly) horrible interface. I would MUCH rather have had the light come on in Moonlight mode, and cycle up in output (instead of the current odd Lo > Hi > Med > Moonlight sequence). "Moonlight" should also be lower than the measured 6.5 lumens that I found.

    But the major problem is that you HAVE to cycle through all four modes to turn the light off. Alternatively, you can go through Strobe first for a more rapid off (i.e., from on, do Strobe > off). This is hardly an improvement though, since they have included a 20Hz fast tactical strobe mode! Again, a much slower signaling strobe (1-3 Hz) would have been far more useful for a general purpose walking light.

    I strongly urge Xtar to revise the interface of this model. It really limits the usefulness and functionality of the light to have to go through all outputs modes (in a bizarre sequence) to be able to turn off the light.

    As always, I leave it to your judgement as to whether or not you can live with the interface. Aside from these issues, the Moon works as advertised, and seems to be well suited as a portable, rechargeable, novel-carry flood light. The build quality and performance seem impressive for a $20 light.

    ----

    Moon RC2 was supplied by Xtar for review
    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

    Default Re: Xtar Moon RC2 (5xLED flood light, rechargeable 2200mAh) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMS+

    As always very informative and I agree with your observations on the modes/interface. For that reason I would hold off on getting the unit.
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  3. #3

    Default Re: Xtar Moon RC2 (5xLED flood light, rechargeable 2200mAh) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMS+

    Would this light be practical to use to jog at night?

  4. #4
    Flashaholic* Tac Gunner's Avatar
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    Default Re: Xtar Moon RC2 (5xLED flood light, rechargeable 2200mAh) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMS+

    Glad to see a great review of this light, thanks! I too agree the UI sucks. I would prefer it to either memorize modes or always start in firefly and work it's way up in up in output. A light like this for me would be used as a night light when traveling or during a power outage and I don't want to have to cycle through all the modes for that. I just picked up a Fenix CL25R this weekend and I can't say there is much I can complain about with it. If this light was similar in operation I'd get one as I like it's intended purpose.
    Last edited by Tac Gunner; 08-09-2016 at 10:10 PM.
    ​Fenix: CL25R, E21, HL35, LD12 2017, TK41, TK45, UC02. Eagletac: D25A2 (x2). Elzetta: Bravo w/ AVS head. Coast: HP14. Olight: H1R Nova. Solarforce L2 w/ XHP50

  5. #5

    Default Re: Xtar Moon RC2 (5xLED flood light, rechargeable 2200mAh) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMS+

    Quote Originally Posted by LeanBurn View Post
    As always very informative and I agree with your observations on the modes/interface. For that reason I would hold off on getting the unit.
    Quote Originally Posted by Tac Gunner View Post
    I too agree the UI sucks. I would prefer it to either memorize modes or always start in firefly and work it's way up in up in output.
    Yeah, hopefully Xtar will listen to the responses here.

    Quote Originally Posted by royjohnson77 View Post
    Would this light be practical to use to jog at night?
    I think so, yes. I found it worked quite well for illuminating around my feet when walking (didn't try a jog, though).
    Full list of all my reviews: flashlightreviews.ca. Latest hobby: whiskyanalysis.com. Latest flashlight review: Thrunite TN42.
    Gratefully accepting donations to my battery fund.

  6. #6
    Flashaholic* KeepingItLight's Avatar
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    Default Re: Xtar Moon RC2 (5xLED flood light, rechargeable 2200mAh) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMS+

    Thanks for another nice review.

    I really like the clip, but the UI rates close to zero on a scale of ten.

    The battery is another problem. For a moderate draw application like this, 2200mAh doesn't cut it. The very popular 3500mAh Panasonic NCR18650GA is now selling retail at something like $6 USD. Wholesale, presumably, it would be less. Adding just a few $$ to the cost of this lantern would allow the use of a modern battery.

    I think you are too generous when you dig out old flashlight tests in order to compare runtimes. The comparisons you used make it too easy to overlook the low-capacity battery Xtar provides.

    Fenix bundles a similar low-capacity battery with its CL25R lantern. That battery, however, can easily be replaced with the battery of your choice. The CL25R, tested with both its original 2300mAh battery, and also with the 3500mAh Pany GA, would be an interesting lantern to compare against the Moon RC2.
    Last edited by KeepingItLight; 09-09-2016 at 12:44 AM.
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  7. #7
    Flashaholic mightysparrow's Avatar
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    Default Re: Xtar Moon RC2 (5xLED flood light, rechargeable 2200mAh) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMS+

    Thanks for the great review. I received my RC2 this week, and even with the obviously-imperfect user interface, I'm still very glad to own it. I will use it as a lantern at home when the power goes out, and it will also be very handy outside, on my commute to work, and more.

    Even though a higher-capacity battery would be nice, and the interface is somewhat awkward for many of us, for the price of the RC2 I think it is a good value as it is. I'm going to get a lot of use out of it, because I haven't found any other water-resistant, robust product of this size that outputs low-glare light, has a clip attached, and has the outputs and runtimes this product has for a very affordable price.
    Last edited by mightysparrow; 09-11-2016 at 08:24 AM.
    "However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light." -- Stanley Kubrick

  8. #8

    Default Re: Xtar Moon RC2 (5xLED flood light, rechargeable 2200mAh) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMS+

    Quote Originally Posted by KeepingItLight View Post
    The battery is another problem. For a moderate draw application like this, 2200mAh doesn't cut it. The very popular 3500mAh Panasonic NCR18650GA is now selling retail at something like $6 USD. Wholesale, presumably, it would be less. Adding just a few $$ to the cost of this lantern would allow the use of a modern battery.

    I think you are too generous when you dig out old flashlight tests in order to compare runtimes. The comparisons you used make it too easy to overlook the low-capacity battery Xtar provides.
    That is a good point. I choose those earlier lights simply because I had data on 2200mAh cells to compare (which I haven't used in awhile). But I agree, there's no obvious reason why they choose such a lower capacity option here.

    Personally, I find the interface to be the most important issue in need of a fix.
    Full list of all my reviews: flashlightreviews.ca. Latest hobby: whiskyanalysis.com. Latest flashlight review: Thrunite TN42.
    Gratefully accepting donations to my battery fund.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Xtar Moon RC2 (5xLED flood light, rechargeable 2200mAh) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMS+

    At the outset, let me first state that I never read a Selfbuilt review I didn't like! Selfbuilt, you are beyond incredible and your Moon review is excellent.

    Second, I strongly dislike the M-L-H user interface of other lights. I understand the reasoning for it, but my own preference for those lights (and I own several with that UI) is L-M-H, principally because of the speed with which I can advance up to a medium mode, if need be, rather than immediately dealing with a Medium blast mode if my needs don't usually call for that.

    So why, then, do I want to put forth support for the Moon's current UI?

    For me, the answer lies in the word context-- the context for which the Moon has been situated. The Xtar website lists the majority of its uses and purposes as being for outside: in a tent, a cave, while walking the dog, etc etc.

    So I am presuming its UI designer with this in mind thought in the following way.

    First click: "If you are outside, this should be bright enough or at least enough for you to determine if you need brighter!"

    Second click: "Was that first click not bright enough for your outside venture? No problem, just click a second time!"

    Third click: "Ah, so you needed to go lower, no problem." And so forth and so on.

    HOWEVER, Xtar's website seriously erred in listing its modes from Moonlight (which they say is 3 lumens, hmm) to 30 to 60 to 120 to Strobe which as Selfbuilt, posters here, and other Moon-users such as myself know simply is NOT an accurate representation of its real life use!

    Let me recap: to understand the Moon's UI, its context must first be understood, and I derive that context from the majority description on the Xtar site as being fundamentally designed for specific outdoor uses. The UI only makes sense (to me, and hopefully to others) against that specific backdrop or context and not against the majority UIs with which most of us are fully accustomed. Third, the speed with which a user can fast-click the button is faster than my beloved Fenix PD-35 and many other lights, including (obviously) my twisty lights, and those with the M-L-H interface. There is much less physics (hand-finger) motion involved to access/use the Moon's rapid response clicky feel, one which I hope will be replicated (without patent infringement of course) by other manufacturers.

    And as such, therefore, the fast click tactile response mitigates against UI misunderstandings or preferences.

    One final point: if the Moon were to have been issued with a UI in an ascending order, valuable time would be lost by the user as s/he clicks to the designated lumens output, albeit with a fast clicky feel and that I would find very frustrating if I were using it outside, or in a tent, or in a cave and as such it would contradict its stated purpose. In those aforementioned situations I would need a brighter lumens setting much faster than cycling through a low to high ascendancy UI. Again, the reason for the Moon's non-ascending order has to do with the Moon's stated context. It is a mistake to rank the Moon's UI against the UI's of the vast majority of 'all-purpose' lights which the Moon is not. To my mind, the Moon's current UI is the outdoor equivalent of the M-L-H modes favored by so many here.

    Thus, the context for which the Moon was situated/designed as well as its quite rapid clicky-feel lead this user to support its UI and disagree respectfully with others here. Have I on occasion experienced its UI as an inconvenience? I won't lie, yes, I have. But I, myself, would NOT purchase another Moon if its UI were changed. Moreover, I would not want Xtar to capitulate to changing its UI without a fully reasoned rationale. If I were Xtar's CEO and my people brought me these many complaints, I'd first fix the website to be accurate. Second, I'd add to its wording to more clearly delineate its context. And only then, third, I would give consideration to re-issuing its current UI as a default UI with an option to reprogram the UI to one's contentment with of course an instruction sheet that a non-technically minded person could follow easily.

    Lastly, having ordered the Moon as a Christmas gift for some family members and friends, although I find its design aesthetically pleasing, my lone "gripe" is that its grip or feel is quite slippery, the Moon could become lost as a result, and could be difficult to locate when it needed to be used. So I will be gifting it on a lanyard that can easily be detached by any recipient who might not be as sensitive to its feel and who wants to use its clip exclusively.

    - LetThereBeLight!
    Last edited by LetThereBeLight!; 09-18-2016 at 09:15 PM.

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