Crelant 7G5 V2 (XM-L U2, 1x/2x18650) Thrower Review: RUNTIMES, VIDEO, BEAMSHOTS+

Sintro

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Hey Selfbuilt/Anyone with this light, I had a few questions I really wanted to know the answers to.

#1- I've noticed it gets pretty hot on high. So I decided to do a test. I left the light on high until it would turn off from the heat basically. It lasted 13 minutes on top of a wooden table in my 69 degree condo. When I say lasted, I mean, it turned off on it's own. After it turned off, I touched the light, and since it wasn't extremely hot, just pretty hot, I held onto it for a minute. So obviously, it wasn't burning hot. *I was just wondering, is this normal?* (Xml at 3a for 13 to turn off from the heat) I'd say that this light was as probably between 100-150 degrees.
#2-one battery does PCB After the light overheats, which I've made happen multiple times on purpose, the light won't turn on. Even if I wait for like 5 minutes and then reinsert the batteries the same order. So, next I put each battery in the light in single 18650 setup. Only one ever works. The other one won't work until I put it into the charger for 5 seconds. I don't know what I'm talking about, only I thought it might be something with the PCB going off. The battery that doesn't work is always the one closest to the led in order. Anyone know why this happens?
#3- And I don't notice this from 30 plus feet, but heres what happens in he beam. Even when I shine it at the wall from like 2 feet away, the beam has a hotspot, but then has two less intense interlocking ovals going through the center around 3 the diameter of the hotspot, and then there's a couple rings off different brightness, but they are small and I assumed they came with having a smooth reflector. Are these ovals normal? I looked at your review again, where you have beamshots, but you used autobalance so the hotspot is just a big white blob. So I can't tell if it's normal.
 

selfbuilt

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I left the light on high until it would turn off from the heat basically. It lasted 13 minutes on top of a wooden table in my 69 degree condo.
I presume that was with 2x 18650 protected cells? If so, do you have a DMM to check voltage? It sounds like one of the protection circuits tripped.

#2-one battery does PCB After the light overheats, which I've made happen multiple times on purpose, the light won't turn on. Even if I wait for like 5 minutes and then reinsert the batteries the same order. So, next I put each battery in the light in single 18650 setup. Only one ever works. The other one won't work until I put it into the charger for 5 seconds. I don't know what I'm talking about, only I thought it might be something with the PCB going off. The battery that doesn't work is always the one closest to the led in order. Anyone know why this happens?
It is common for the battery near the LED to be drained slightly faster than the one near the switch. Not entirely sure why, but it may have to do with heat (i.e., the main source of heat is coming from the head). I've done temperature measures, and there can be quite a gradient across the batteries in series.

Again, it sounds like your front-most cell is triggering its protection circuit. I am going to guess that your cells are not in very good shape. Are they old, or of uncertain quality (i.e. Ultrafire?). Quality cells should give you a lot longer. There's certainly seems to be a lot of old laptop pulls floating around under new Ultrafire wrappers out there ... that would explain the poor performance.

#3- And I don't notice this from 30 plus feet, but heres what happens in he beam. Even when I shine it at the wall from like 2 feet away, the beam has a hotspot, but then has two less intense interlocking ovals going through the center around 3 the diameter of the hotspot, and then there's a couple rings off different brightness, but they are small and I assumed they came with having a smooth reflector. Are these ovals normal? I looked at your review again, where you have beamshots, but you used autobalance so the hotspot is just a big white blob. So I can't tell if it's normal.
There is often some degree of artifacts in the beam corona with smooth reflectors. These are hard to capture with a camera, but can you post a picture? If it seems really bad, you could consider returning it. Hard to advise without seeing it.
 

Sintro

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I presume that was with 2x 18650 protected cells? If so, do you have a DMM to check voltage? It sounds like one of the protection circuits tripped.


It is common for the battery near the LED to be drained slightly faster than the one near the switch. Not entirely sure why, but it may have to do with heat (i.e., the main source of heat is coming from the head). I've done temperature measures, and there can be quite a gradient across the batteries in series.

Again, it sounds like your front-most cell is triggering its protection circuit. I am going to guess that your cells are not in very good shape. Are they old, or of uncertain quality (i.e. Ultrafire?). Quality cells should give you a lot longer. There's certainly seems to be a lot of old laptop pulls floating around under new Ultrafire wrappers out there ... that would explain the poor performance.


There is often some degree of artifacts in the beam corona with smooth reflectors. These are hard to capture with a camera, but can you post a picture? If it seems really bad, you could consider returning it. Hard to advise without seeing it.


Thanks for the quick reply!

The cells I used were Tenergy 2600mah 18650's with PCB. I just got them a week ago from battery-junction, I can tell they aren't old because they don't heat up at all when charging. (I might ask them for replacement for one of the cells, because I suspect it might just have a higher than normal temp trip. My DMM is in the mail as we speak, should be delivered tomorrow.

I mean, the artifacts aren't terrible, I was just wondering if those are normal, just plain curosity, doesn't affect my usage of the light. They aren't a big a deal enough to get an exchange. I bought it from easylightbuy, the u2 version, for $77. But, the shipping was like a month, so it'd take two months to get a replacement. And that's not acceptable. Guess that's what I get from not buying from madecov :). I'll try to get some beam shots on Sunday when I go to the racetrack with my dad and brother (dad's the one with the nice camera). So I'll probably have them on here on sunday night.

Also, is the PCB set off by a temperature? Which is usually gained through extreme current? So, can the PCB be tripped just from the temp of the light?
 
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selfbuilt

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Also, is the PCB set off by a temperature? Which is usually gained through extreme current? So, can the PCB be tripped just from the temp of the light?
Not to my knowledge, but best to ask the experts in the batteries forum.

With primary CR123A, the PTC (basically a thermoresistor) limits current to the battery once a certain temperature threshold is reached. But you don't see an abrupt shut-off of the cell - current (and output) just drops rapidly once it engages, and then slowly recovers as the cells cool. You can see evidence of this on some of my high-output runtimes (especially 4xCR123A ones), but the Thrunite Scorpion V2 review also has a link to an extensive discussion of this.

Of course, some lights also have circuit-based temperature sensors and cut-off features that will shut a light down abruptly once a circuit temperature is reached. But the cells would still re-activate in a cool light. It definitely sounds like one your cells is tripping pre-maturely.

Once your DMM arrives, I would verify the resting voltage of the cells fully charged, and periodically stop the run and measure again (to see if they are remaining balanced during the run). If not, I'd return the malfunctioning battery.
 

Sintro

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Not to my knowledge, but best to ask the experts in the batteries forum. With primary CR123A, the PTC (basically a thermoresistor) limits current to the battery once a certain temperature threshold is reached. But you don't see an abrupt shut-off of the cell - current (and output) just drops rapidly once it engages, and then slowly recovers as the cells cool. You can see evidence of this on some of my high-output runtimes (especially 4xCR123A ones), but the Thrunite Scorpion V2 review also has a link to an extensive discussion of this. Of course, some lights also have circuit-based temperature sensors and cut-off features that will shut a light down abruptly once a circuit temperature is reached. But the cells would still re-activate in a cool light. It definitely sounds like one your cells is tripping pre-maturely. Once your DMM arrives, I would verify the resting voltage of the cells fully charged, and periodically stop the run and measure again (to see if they are remaining balanced during the run). If not, I'd return the malfunctioning battery.
I'll have to check out those, and I'll be sure to do the voltage test multiple times. I'll also do it after the pcb is supposedly tripping. I'm assuming it should read 0v, or around there.
 

asval

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Nice review

To anyone that has this light, do you think it would be a good idea to place a diffuser on candle light mode? In other words with the reflector head off and the emitter exposed.

Also, any suggestion as to which diffuser from another light might fit?
 

papershredder

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Well, because this thread includes the aspheric, I'll post here.

I just got the 7G5CS as well as the aspheric lens today. I'm running 4xCR123A (they rattle around a bit inside.) The 7G5CS with the stock reflector is quite awesome. This is my first searchlight, keep in mind.
I put the collimator on there, and I really did not notice any increase in throw. The spill obviously went away--into the hotspot. I was doing this in an alley, 100 meters to the end. Walls were about head height, 14 feet apart.
I've picked out an open area, hopefully I'll get to it tomorrow, where it's 300 meters from end to end. Perhaps then I'll see some benefits from the aspheric, but the stock reflector seems to do a pretty good job concentrating that beam.
The only benefits I think are happening (but I'm not sure I'm seeing) is that the collimator does not make imacts to my night vision at close range.

Updates to follow.
 

BWX

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Just used this flashlight to spot a damn bear that was attacking my (both empty) bird feeders and garbage can. He didn't like the strobe and ran back into the woods.
 

lintonindy

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Well, because this thread includes the aspheric, I'll post here.

I just got the 7G5CS as well as the aspheric lens today. I'm running 4xCR123A (they rattle around a bit inside.) The 7G5CS with the stock reflector is quite awesome. This is my first searchlight, keep in mind.
I put the collimator on there, and I really did not notice any increase in throw. The spill obviously went away--into the hotspot. I was doing this in an alley, 100 meters to the end. Walls were about head height, 14 feet apart.
I've picked out an open area, hopefully I'll get to it tomorrow, where it's 300 meters from end to end. Perhaps then I'll see some benefits from the aspheric, but the stock reflector seems to do a pretty good job concentrating that beam.
The only benefits I think are happening (but I'm not sure I'm seeing) is that the collimator does not make imacts to my night vision at close range.

Updates to follow.


The head also needs to be focussed to the LED to gain the maximum advantage. If you were just shining it down an alleyway then you might not have enough distance to see the gains in throw. Looks can be deceiving when talking about a high throwing device. For even more throw I suggest dedoming the LED and refocusing the head.
 

TEEJ

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The head also needs to be focussed to the LED to gain the maximum advantage. If you were just shining it down an alleyway then you might not have enough distance to see the gains in throw. Looks can be deceiving when talking about a high throwing device. For even more throw I suggest dedoming the LED and refocusing the head.

This.

At shorter ranges, a lot of lights can appear to have similar throw, as there's nothing to base a judgement on, its a bright light several meters away for all for all of them, and the cd makes the eyes stop down the same after a point, so they all look as "Bright".

When you get to ~ 300 - 400 meters, it starts to separate the men from the boys a bit more.

:D
 

selfbuilt

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The head also needs to be focussed to the LED to gain the maximum advantage. If you were just shining it down an alleyway then you might not have enough distance to see the gains in throw. Looks can be deceiving when talking about a high throwing device.
Yes, this is likely a big part of why you are not noticing a significant gain in throw - you need to focus the aspheric until it projects the sharpest image of the die (looks like a "space invader"). If you still don't notice the difference, it is like due to the distance now being far out enough (as TEEJ pointed out).

If it helps, here is an updated table with my current NIST-calibrated Lux light meter throw measures (in orange).

Barracuda-FL1-Summary.gif
 

papershredder

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The head also needs to be focussed to the LED to gain the maximum advantage. If you were just shining it down an alleyway then you might not have enough distance to see the gains in throw. Looks can be deceiving when talking about a high throwing device. For even more throw I suggest dedoming the LED and refocusing the head.


Agreed on the distance problem. I'm planning on heading out tonight to a place where I can do 300 meters.

I got a bit confused about how to focus the aspheric lens... There is a threaded part on just the lens itself. There are two o-rings on there. It's pretty tough to turn, I can't get a good grip on it. I've got some super-lube that I can throw on there, should I?
Then there is unscrewing the lens from the led base.

Which one should I be turning?

I can see the die image when I have the collimator on. It's pretty close to what I see when I put a loupe up to a smaller light.
Can I do the focusing inside my house, or do I need to do it outside?
 

lintonindy

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Agreed on the distance problem. I'm planning on heading out tonight to a place where I can do 300 meters.

I got a bit confused about how to focus the aspheric lens... There is a threaded part on just the lens itself. There are two o-rings on there. It's pretty tough to turn, I can't get a good grip on it. I've got some super-lube that I can throw on there, should I?
Then there is unscrewing the lens from the led base.



Which one should I be turning?

I can see the die image when I have the collimator on. It's pretty close to what I see when I put a loupe up to a smaller light.
Can I do the focusing inside my house, or do I need to do it outside?

By all means lube your light at any and all threads.

One place to turn turns the entire head. One place to turn, turns the front bezel off. Turn this off and take out the top lens. It is not needed and does degrade the light brightness a little. The place to focus the head is in between the two previous places.

You can do it inside but it will then be optimised for the distance you focused it at. I did find however, that if I step outside and use a tree about 50 feet + away, it seems to keep the same constant state of focus even out to a couple hundred meters.

When properly focused this light is an impressive thrower, and was my go to neighborhood walking light (for throw without disturbing the neighbors), until I got my Dereelight with a modified pill. I can use the Dereelight with one 18650 and no power loss, which is a nice advantage, and the throw is on another level.

I did do a simple dedome job on the Creelant with a straight razor, utilizing the plastic centering ring to make sure I didn't cut too much off. I then used a polishing wheel on a dremel to fix any inconsistencies with the cut. After refocusing the head (again) it showed some good gains as well as a more pleasing color temperature. Now my son loves to use it on our walks at night.
 

selfbuilt

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I got a bit confused about how to focus the aspheric lens... There is a threaded part on just the lens itself. There are two o-rings on there. It's pretty tough to turn, I can't get a good grip on it. I've got some super-lube that I can throw on there, should I?
Then there is unscrewing the lens from the led base.
Which one should I be turning?
Can I do the focusing inside my house, or do I need to do it outside?
Ideally, you should be turning the top part of the collimator relative to the bottom part - not unscrewing the entire head assembly from the light. You want to make sure the o-rings remain engaged on the body. It should loosen with practice - but once you get the focus right, you are unlikely to be changing it anyway.

The pic you show looks pretty focused. You can possibly do this indoors, but you would need a really long hallway (i.e., 10m would be good - less than that may be sub-optimal). Ideally best to do outdoors.
 

TEEJ

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When the focus is perfect, you see the LED itself very sharply, as if it was a slide projector picture of the LED on the wall.

6847581102_bc168bd66c_c.jpg



The above is actually from a ZL SC600 shined through a loupe as an aspherical lens, as part of an experiment I was doing....not from the Crelant, but, it gives an idea of the LED it self's appearance.

:D
 

papershredder

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Okay guys, I took the light with the stock reflector and the collimator head out last night. I started out with the collimator focusing part loose and tightened it down until I got the best focus at range. I compared the reflector to the collimator.

I can notice a difference in throw with the collimator. I could make out a tree about twice as well at 400 meters than I could with with just the reflector. However, I had a hell of a time making it out in the first place. So, yes, the collimator seems to be making a difference, but I'm not getting the "WOW!" factor I was hoping for. I think this is in part due to the wider profile of the XM-L emitter. Now I'm wondering how much better a Dereelight or a Tiablo could do due to the tigher beams. 200 meters seemed to be about the extent of what I could reasonably make out with either head.

I've seen some material on dedoming, looks risky. I was wondering if anyone had some thoughs about replacing the emitter entirely? Or would that not work with the reflector and the collimator? I can do the soldering work if I can figure out how to get that plastic cover off the PCB, preferably without destroying it.

What's next if I really want to push the limit? Is it HID? Am I doing it wrong with the collimator? Something with 3 or more LED emitters in one light?
 

TEEJ

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Okay guys, I took the light with the stock reflector and the collimator head out last night. I started out with the collimator focusing part loose and tightened it down until I got the best focus at range. I compared the reflector to the collimator.

I can notice a difference in throw with the collimator. I could make out a tree about twice as well at 400 meters than I could with with just the reflector. However, I had a hell of a time making it out in the first place. So, yes, the collimator seems to be making a difference, but I'm not getting the "WOW!" factor I was hoping for. I think this is in part due to the wider profile of the XM-L emitter. Now I'm wondering how much better a Dereelight or a Tiablo could do due to the tigher beams. 200 meters seemed to be about the extent of what I could reasonably make out with either head.

I've seen some material on dedoming, looks risky. I was wondering if anyone had some thoughs about replacing the emitter entirely? Or would that not work with the reflector and the collimator? I can do the soldering work if I can figure out how to get that plastic cover off the PCB, preferably without destroying it.

What's next if I really want to push the limit? Is it HID? Am I doing it wrong with the collimator? Something with 3 or more LED emitters in one light?

You are bumping into what I call "Trying to see".

:D

The Deerelight, etc, also projects a teeny spot of LED shaped light onto distant objects. The spot of light from that Crelant is larger by a large margin.

Now, when you are tying to see something, part of the issue is enough lux from the target to resolve it, and part is enough illuminated surface area to have a context for what you are looking at or for.

If the light is visibly brighter with the collimator at 400 yards, it will be even brighter at 200 yards, and so forth.

Dedoming tends to make the tint a bit warmer, and, concentrate the light more in the hotspot, and less in corona or spill. This increases throw, but makes the area illuminated even smaller and brighter. If you wanted a larger area to be lit up, dedoming will go the other way. If you wanted a distant target to have a smaller brighter spot on it, dedoming works very well.

You don't need to solder to dedome, you just pry off the little bubble over the LED, its only held there by a bead of silicone, which is soft...like caulk, etc.

A scalpel or xacto knife blade, etc, works to pry it off with.


BTW - the Deerelight, etc, use a smaller die to increase throw, but, the smaller die has very few lumens compared to an XM-L or XM-L2, etc...so the spots are VERY teeny. An XP-G2 for example might be between those extremes, and so forth.
 
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