Is there really a difference between cheap generic $9-30 zoomable eBay headlamps, "T6", "XHP50", "XHP90", XHP160"? Has anyone compared them?

scrapjack

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I am looking at buying a few zoomable head lamps for a project or two. My concern is how the prices change a bit depending on the claimed bulb included. Are the generic "HXP90" lights actually brighter than the "HXP50" lights that sell for just a few bucks less, or just sucker bait?(ie a retooled housing for the 50, sold as the 90) I've heard of fake crees, so am I actually likely to see a difference between a $25 "HXP90.2" w/o batteries headlamp, and a $9 w/o batteries "T6" headlamp? Today I saw a "XHP160" zoomable headlamp for $30, which is getting near the per part pricing limit on these projects I have in mind. I know I'm not actually going to get a million lumens, but any of these are guaranteed to be better than what I'm starting with, the only question is by how much, and what is the cost to performance ratio if any. I don't mind spending $25 instead of $9 on a part if I am actually getting a noticeably brighter light, but not if the difference will be negligible, or worse, nonexistent. Has anyone bought several cheap generic zoomable headlamps to compare. In general, I just want to know about how much brighter(1.5x,2x,10x) one light might appear vs another, so I can judge weather the price increase(and difference in size/adaptability) is worth the difference in cost. I'm not looking for hard numbers just a rule of thumb. With their "overly optimistic" specs, that clearly don't expect anyone to call them out, I am worried that the Law of Diminishing Returns might set in nearly at the start on these generic things, so If anyone wants to weigh in, I'd appreciate it.


I'll try this one last time in a dedicated tread, as I don't think I've done that yet. I am hoping by seperating the question from other discussions, it will be easier to reply to, if anyone wants to reply. If not I'll figure there is no answer, and won't bother the comunity with this question anymore. Thank you for any help.
 
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bykfixer

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I think you have answered your own questions other than have others tried them.

To start out a light that has 2x the output as another does not appear 2x brighter. If say a 150 lumen light has an upgrade to 300 lumens the difference will not be very noticeable given the same beam pattern.

Next, to buy a generic light on eBay because it's cheap will likely result in disappointment now due to false claims or later when the junky light (be it $9 or $30) fails.

But it all really depends on what you plan to use them for. Casual, on ocasion use you might be just fine with any you cited. Yet most will likely be unregulated whereby they start out bright but dim as the battery discharges.

Perhaps read this
 

scrapjack

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My question isn't answered, unless you are suggesting all the cheap lights have about the same output regardless of claimed included bulb. The cheap lights give insane numbers that can not be used as a reference, or considered close to the ball park of what I can realistically expect. Some of the base lights(to be updated) are starting with 9 old school led diodes, so the comparison isn't between the original lamp, and the replacement, but between two or more possible replacements that make dubious claims.

I am not asking which is best, only if there is a difference. I am not planing to use the headlamps as headlamps, but as upgrade parts for worklights. I will determine if a specific reflector-lens housing has enough spread/throw at respective points after ordering some. I am not asking about what the best headlamp is. I am asking if a cheap headlamp is likely to have the diodes inside that it claimes to have, and if a generic HXP90 diode is any brighter than a generic T6 diode. I am trying to decide if it is worth buying a few $30 lamps to test for suitability, or if I should just buy a bunch of $10 lamps to test.

I plan to use them to upgrade various work lights, most of which were from the early 2000's and are very dim compared to a $5 single 18650 flashlight, being only a little brighter than incandescent. The minimum utility I want is to be able to see a outlet on a wall 300 feet away on zoom, and light up a large living room on flood. The greater the light output the better, and since throw is very specific to reflector-lens design, I am asking only about the bulbs. I'm starting with bases that have cool/unique features, but are not zoomable, and extremely dim. The starting point is such a low bar that literally anything modern and reliable that fits in the head shell will be an improvement, so the base is really irrelevant to the question here. I'm not looking for super powered ultra lights, just some reasonable goals to bring some unusable tools at least up to par with the capabilities of a cheap modern flashlight. I'm looking for the best I can do on a budget times 6 or so units, and any upgrade I do will be a huge improvement over the starting point.


As an example of the "crazy" numbers I am looking at, I see a $9 single T6 bulb headlamp that claims 990,000lm, and a $22 single bulb HXP90 headlamp that claims the same brightness. Obviously I don't expect to see that many lumen. Is one likely to be 150lumens, and the other 600lm, or maybe they actually do have the same brightness, as maybe they both use the same cheap bulb and are lying about the diodes contained just like they are lying about the lumen output.

TLDR: I'm not asking what the best lamp is, just if there realy is a difference on the cheap end. I'm upgrading ancient lights that might as well be incandescent. For new lamp housings I'm seeing numbers like 990,000 lumens on a $9 headlamp that can't be believed or used as a general reference. I just want to know if I pay more on generic stuff do I actually get more, or are the sellers lying about bulbs inside, just like they are lying about the lumen output? If the $30, $20, and $9 lights are the same relative brightness, then my only concern should which will be easiest for a particular mod, and which potentially will look the most stock/professional when I'm done, instead of what diode they say is inside. If I pay extra for the HXP90, am I likely to get a HXP90, or are they both T6 lamps, with one just overpriced? If there really is a difference between something that claims a T6 diode vs something that claims HXP90, is it actually noticeable?
 
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scrapjack

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Follow up, answering the question, in case this helps someone else.

I bought two $9 head lights that each had a zoom mechanism where the length of the housing doesn't change, and both claimed to have a single T6 diode. There was definitely a noticeable difference between them. The green Garberiel light has a spread of about 90 degrees and was virtually the same on wide, but much tighter when focused, as the 18V zoomable Makita DML808, and only from a distance of over 100 feet it seemed there was a few inches more light from the Makita looking at a light circle on a fence. The second light tested came with a retail box, but doesn't have a brand or model number, and is painted black and blue. It was quite noticeably dimmer than the Garberiel and only had a spread of roughly 60 degrees. Both lights have a much more blue tint to them compared to the warm Makita. The blue lights' box actually had measurements that might be possible, but still doubtful, claiming 500 lumens and 280 lux, as apposed to a million lumens.

If I can't even trust two lights of similar features and size, at the same price, supposedly having the same bulb to be very similar in comparison, then that seems to indicate that there is no way to know if a more expensive generic light will actually offer anything for the price increase without buying it. A general bassis for comparison can't easily be established with dubious lights.

PS: I measured those light angles from a short distance with a protractor, however Amazon claims the Makita light has a range of 60º - 110º, and 200 Lumens. The Makita was brighter than either head lamp.
 

idleprocess

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"T6", "XHP50", "XHP90", XHP160"
  • T6 is from Cree XM-L binning of a decade ago where the T6 flux bin was the best available (280 lumens @ 700mA). Its use today is almost certainly vestigial and has nothing to do with whatever LED is supplied.
  • XHP50 is a LED that Cree still makes in the XHP series, although the XHP50.3 is probably the most common with the older XHP50.2 likely winding down production
  • XHP90, XHP160 are not actual Cree LEDs. The designation might be infringing on Cree trademarks and is almost certainly intended to deceive the consumer into thinking it is a Cree LED.
The price points you're mentioning suggest lower-end product of unknown provenance, thus more likely to disappoint in terms of performance and reliability.
 

idleprocess

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YouTube just vomited up a pitch for some 'navy seal' flashlight sporting a "CREE XM-L T6 BULB". Best I can tell it's been going on 5 years since the original XM-L has been offered: 2017 copyright date on the XM-L datasheet hosted by Mouser - looking at Cree's website the XM-L2 is the oldest variant ... for which the T6 flux bin is now the worst.
 
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