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Thread: My last (next?) single-18650 flat top EDC

  1. #1

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    Default My last (next?) single-18650 flat top EDC

    Hi!

    My name is terjee, and I'm a flashaholic. ;-)

    I'm looking for my last (maybe "next" would be more believable?) EDC-light, specifically a single-18650 one, that's just perfect for me. Not an easy thing to find, I know, so I'm really hoping you'll give me a hand.

    Okay, I lied. I'm looking for two, so I can check out both thoroughly, finally decide on one of them, and leave the other as a backup.


    First, a coupe of hard requirements:
    - Be able to run off of unprotected flat top 18650s (VTC5A for example)
    - Moonlight
    - Direct to low, and possible to get both to moonlight and back off again without going through high
    - Rugged, reliable, "waterproof" (IPX7 or 8)
    - High CRI (otherwise, I know I'd keep hunting for a high CRI to replace it with)
    - Neutral or warm (same reason as with CRI).

    Basically I'm looking for the "always with me"-light, in the form of a single 18650-light. No need for an adventurous monster light, just good and reliable utility for the relevant tasks.

    This is the light that I'll...
    - ... be using to check on the kid when we're away from home, or navigating without disturbing (moonlight).
    - ... luckily have with me if there's a major power outage on my way home from work, or while still at the office (EDC).
    - ... be using to navigate my way down a small mountain or out of a park, if stuck until after dark, without having planned for it (reliable, some range).
    - ... be shining into weird dark holes in walls while geocaching, possibly at high noon (enough power to still be useful with bright light adapted eyes).

    That's quite a span of tasks, but none of them are that demanding, and none require the latest lumen-chaser light, or a massive thrower.

    I'm sure many of know which sort of light I'm thinking about here, some of you might even be nodding as you read this. :-)

    There's obviously no need for a super-thrower here, both floody and spot with major spill should be fine. Good balanced beam, without needing it to fit into a specific category.

    To set some outer points on lumen, certainly <= 1 lumen for moonlight. For the high side of things, 300 lumens should do. A bit more would be good, as long as there are intermediates, and good mode-spacing.

    Non-critical wishlist:
    - Proper support for 1x or 2x CR123A as well (voltage-compatible, adapter like with Eagletac-lights is fine)
    - Low drain while off or moonlight
    - Warm high-CRI is tempting (but is hard to find)
    - Quality secure holster available for it, can be 3rd party

    $100 is no problem, would prefer to stay below $150, but can in theory go up to $400 if the light is both perfect and virtually indestructible. The less likely it is that I'd need or want to replace it, the more I'd be willing to spend.

    It'll replace a DL25LC2 with Nichia, that's been a trusted EDC for some time now. Replacing because the D25LC2 requires button-top, and I always carry spare flat-tops. Just makes too much sense to EDC a light I could use those in as well.

    I'm currently waiting for a Zerbalight SC600w Mk III. If I'm happy with that, one of the two lights will probably be another Zebra. Currently leaning towards SC600Fd, but I'd love input on that as well. Any Zebra I should consider instead?

    To round out the rest of the topics from the checklist:
    - Prefer to buy online
    - No need for in-light charging
    - No strong feelings on interface, other than mentioned above

    Appreciate any thoughts you might have, including "I know you said X, but you should consider Y, because such-and-such".

    Many thanks for any input!

  2. #2
    peter yetman's Avatar
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    Default Re: My last (next?) single-18650 flat top EDC

    Well, looking at your list I just thought HDS. It seems to tick all your boxes and you can get one with a 18680 tube too.
    I haven't got one here, it's in transit from the States, but if all the buzz in the HDS Thread is correct, it sounds like I'll be a happy bunny when it gets here.
    P

  3. #3
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    Default Re: My last (next?) single-18650 flat top EDC

    Sounds like you were writing with a Zebralight in mind: fully potted, famous sub-lumen modes, low parasitic drain. Zebra's don't eat the CR123A's, but seem to check the rest of your boxes. An HDS would almost check all your boxes: budget would be completely blown; max 200 lumens @ CRI=93, 4000K; and, you need to swap tubes to go between 18650 and 1xCR123.

    I have the SC600w III, the SC600Fd, and the SC63w. I use the SC600w III the least: when I want spot/flood, I have lately been almost always putting the noticeably smaller SC63w in my pocket instead. Pictures don't really do it justice, how much smaller it is than the SC600--it would be hard to make an 18650 battery carrier much smaller! And, I seem to grab the SC600Fd III+ the most (including today): I love high output, high CRI, floody, and compact.

    The only question on the SC63w is whether CRI of 80, and temp. of 4500K, are good enough for your preference for warm/high-CRI. Your current SC600w III will tell you if that's good enough. Our current Zebralight option if we want warmer and higher CRI in a smaller package than the SC600FDIII+ is to drop down to AA size, SC53c or SC5cII.

    I had the same hankering for a warmer temp, higher CRI 18650 light, and the best I can come up with so far (without getting a bit larger/heavier) is to swap emitters on my soon-to-arrive Emisar D4 to some Nichia 219C's with 4000K, 90+ CRI (with an 18350 tube, will be shorter than the Zebra's with a fatter head; with an 18650, should look like a Zebra that got stung by a bee). I'll be curious if folks can come up with something I missed...

  4. #4

    Default Re: My last (next?) single-18650 flat top EDC

    Check out PflexPro. I just ordered a custom light from Randy. Here are the specs

    Body: Black Convoy S2+ with optional 18350 tube so I can use both 18650 and 18350
    Led: Nichia 219c 5000k
    Driver: H17f fully potted
    Reflector: Orange peel
    Switch bypass forward clicky
    Glass: AR coated
    Stainless steal screwed on pocket clip

    I will be running on VCT5 as well. This guy does some great work. The driver is pretty cool, you can select your own light levels and number of modes. Also has double tap to turbo or strobe. Not sure if it matters but Randy will provide your lights tested output levels.

    $79 shipped.

  5. #5

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    Default Re: My last (next?) single-18650 flat top EDC

    Quote Originally Posted by peter yetman View Post
    Well, looking at your list I just thought HDS. It seems to tick all your boxes and you can get one with a 18680 tube too.
    Yeah, I've been curious about those. A rotary with Nichia 219B (4000K, CRI 93) does sound tempting. Need to give it some thought before spending that kind of money though, it'd limit me to 200 lumens (the other emitters have CRI 72), and then there's figuring out clip etc. Very tempting though, thanks. :-)

    Quote Originally Posted by Keitho View Post
    An HDS would almost check all your boxes: budget would be completely blown; max 200 lumens @ CRI=93, 4000K; and, you need to swap tubes to go between 18650 and 1xCR123.
    I think I'm okay with having to switch tubes. As it is, I'm already storing EagleTac CR123A-adapters with the batteries, and doing the same with a HDS tube should work just as well. For me, CR123A are more long term backup than anything else, multi-day blackouts and the like.

    Quote Originally Posted by Keitho View Post
    I have the SC600w III, the SC600Fd, and the SC63w. I use the SC600w III the least: when I want spot/flood, I have lately been almost always putting the noticeably smaller SC63w in my pocket instead. Pictures don't really do it justice, how much smaller it is than the SC600--it would be hard to make an 18650 battery carrier much smaller! And, I seem to grab the SC600Fd III+ the most (including today): I love high output, high CRI, floody, and compact.

    The only question on the SC63w is whether CRI of 80, and temp. of 4500K, are good enough for your preference for warm/high-CRI. Your current SC600w III will tell you if that's good enough. Our current Zebralight option if we want warmer and higher CRI in a smaller package than the SC600FDIII+ is to drop down to AA size, SC53c or SC5cII.
    Very interesting that you have all of those three. It's basically the light I'm waiting for, and the two most likely contenders. Comparing with the one I have on the way makes perfect sense. The H53c and SC5c lights are a bit outside what I'm looking for right now, but they're interesting in their own right. Would be interesting as a secondary light for the kid as well, I'm much more comfortable with her using NiMH rather than LiIon for night-reading for example. Might be I'll have to give it a try, and just see who ends up with it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cobraman502 View Post
    Check out PflexPro. I just ordered a custom light from Randy.
    Thanks! I wasn't aware of these, and they seem very interesting. Price is good as well. Need to look more into these.

    Thanks everyone! :-)

  6. #6
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    Default Re: My last (next?) single-18650 flat top EDC

    Check out the D4 at mtn electronics(or intl-outdoor) for around $40. So far the feedback has been very good.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: My last (next?) single-18650 flat top EDC

    Quote Originally Posted by ven View Post
    Check out the D4 at mtn electronics(or intl-outdoor) for around $40. So far the feedback has been very good.
    I just received my first two, and they are impressive. Like a "moddable" Zebralight sc600-series, with 3 anodize color options. I'll try swapping some emitters and optics, add some potting, and end up with exactly what I want, rather than "This SC600 is perfect except xxx..."

  8. #8
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    Default Re: My last (next?) single-18650 flat top EDC

    Here is a pic, SC600 and Emisar D4

    Emisar D4 and Zebralight SC600Fd III+ https://imgur.com/gallery/rj9f2

  9. #9
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    Default Re: My last (next?) single-18650 flat top EDC

    Great comparison pic Keitho, could the D4 be the best $40 light on the planet................... Hopefully i can get a better idea in a week or so

  10. #10
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    Default Re: My last (next?) single-18650 flat top EDC

    Quote Originally Posted by terjee View Post
    Hi!

    My name is terjee, and I'm a flashaholic. ;-)

    I'm looking for my last (maybe "next" would be more believable?) EDC-light, specifically a single-18650 one, that's just perfect for me ....

    Basically I'm looking for the "always with me"-light, in the form of a single 18650-light ....

    I'm sure many of know which sort of light I'm thinking about here, some of you might even be nodding as you read this. :-)

    .... Appreciate any thoughts you might have, including "I know you said X, but you should consider Y, because such-and-such".

    Many thanks for any input!
    So, I'm going to read between the lines here, and give you my opinions on "getting a great 18650" torch here ... without getting bogged down in details (hope that's ok) .

    • Malkoff MD2 ... simple, tough, modular, awesome

    • McGizmo Aqua/TerraRam ... titanium, classic, classy

    • Oveready BOSS 70 ... flexible, programmable, powerful

    Hope that's helpful
    ... is the archimedes peak

  11. #11
    ven's Avatar
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    Default Re: My last (next?) single-18650 flat top EDC

    The BOSS certainly looks like a good option. The 219c 4000k or xpl HI 4000k would really work for me..................and the amber i think. There does seem quite a few up for sale which i did not expect. On here and that FB place they pop up daily. I prefer the 18350 form, but now i think i would go 70 . There would just not be enough in the tank for me, probably struggle with an 18650 tbh. High output lights eat 18650's...................

  12. #12

    Default Re: My last (next?) single-18650 flat top EDC

    Quote Originally Posted by ven View Post
    Great comparison pic Keitho, could the D4 be the best $40 light on the planet................... Hopefully i can get a better idea in a week or so
    I would say that it's the best edc on the planet 😉

  13. #13

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    Default Re: My last (next?) single-18650 flat top EDC

    Many thanks for the added info!
    The D4 is surprisingly affordable, so I suspect one might sneak itself into the lineup. :-)
    Normally I'd just go Nichia for the temp and CRI, but should I take an extra look at any of the other options first?

  14. #14
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    Default Re: My last (next?) single-18650 flat top EDC

    I'd get one of each! I've got the Nichia and a couple S4 (at least 1 to modify). The Nichia is noticeably better light, but gets hotter much faster--so much so that I don't think an 18350 would be of much use with even less thermal mass. I have a feeling that the HI would be similar.

    You can't afford to NOT get multiple versions!

  15. #15

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    Default Re: My last (next?) single-18650 flat top EDC

    Haha, one of each is tempting. I suppose they'd make good loaners as well.
    I guess I'll start with one, and go from there.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: My last (next?) single-18650 flat top EDC

    Its completely subjective as you know terjee, me nichia 219c 5000k won for the 1st D4 i have. Its a pure white, real nice and absolutely no regret. The next will probably be a little warmer and go for the 4000k xp-g2 as i do like the colour temp of this LED.

    You can not go wrong really, its crazy but awesome all the same and quite possibly the best $40 you will spend on a light. The components used are of a high quality unlike the astrolux quad from banggood. It is the smaller brother to the noctigon m43..............yet even more impressive for its size.

    Very compact as well

  17. #17

    Default Re: My last (next?) single-18650 flat top EDC

    A Malkoff MD2 would certainly be bulletproof. With a high low ring it would do most jobs quite well.

    Pflexpro's Convoy S2 would work well too. He also makes a triple variant if you'd prefer that route.

  18. #18
    Flashaholic* vadimax's Avatar
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    Default Re: My last (next?) single-18650 flat top EDC

    I may be wrong, but those attempts to squeeze monstrous lumens out of a small form factor light seem to me not too friendly with the common sense. Having SC600w III I observe very fast heat up at max power. Now the question: how many seconds does D4 need to start frying your fingers?

    +5 stupid characters!!!!!

  19. #19
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    Default Re: My last (next?) single-18650 flat top EDC

    I think the 219c warms the quickest of the options, around 15s on mine gets very warm to hot. The firmware is trick! manages it amazingly and ramps down to keep under control.

    Could argue any light over 200lm is wasted, heck maybe 50lm as 20 or so years back we had no option for much higher in output. Its fun, pushing boundaries and although crazy, still a very usable light. Its fine for a steady 600lm(give or take) in the heat department for high output/duration's. Goes without saying the 100% is short bursts, still has its uses for scanning about.............

    The UI is really good, stands out against many lights in that area alone(imo).

    The ZL is more than bright enough agree, handles heat well again with clever firmware(love it), still having a crazy amount of lumens just does not grow old for me..................i can still use it at ZL levels using the effortless ramping UI.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: My last (next?) single-18650 flat top EDC

    I agree with ven, the UI and firmware are great on the D4. The driver in general is what makes the light such an amazing deal. It's a $20 driver with awesome efficiency at lower levels, programmable thermal regulation, and intuitive brightness ramping. Basically, it is a well thought out, small, efficient, configurable, inexpensive 1200 lumen light with a free bonus feature: 15-30 seconds of crazy output!

  21. #21

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    Default Re: My last (next?) single-18650 flat top EDC

    Like Ven mentioned, max lumens from a light like this is often mostly used for scanning about anyway. If I planned to use that many lumen for an extended period of time, I'd certainly bring a different light. Nice to have it for when you need that little extra though.

    I suppose I have an advantage here as well. Night time, it's often 5-15C, so it's not the worst of ambient temps.

    I'll probably end with Nichia for my first, I could use a couple of more high cri lights.

  22. #22
    ven's Avatar
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    Default Re: My last (next?) single-18650 flat top EDC

    You wont regret it terjee............Even though 3800 ish lumens is short lived before the clever step downs start, its always nice to have on tap ...........just in case, or that time when you just needed that bit more light. It can be an EDC, sub lumen night time light, or flood a field come that need. It has it all............not to mention its instant hand warming capabilities

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