Nitecore EA4 (XM-L U2, 4xAA) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO and more!

jazavac

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Hi.

I'm wondering about the turbo mode. After 3 minutes, the output lowers.
Does that mean that you can't have turbo output unitl you change/charge the batteries, or can you just turn the light of and then on, and have the full output again?

This is probably a silly question but please forgive me, I'm a flashlight noob.

Thanks.
 

selfbuilt

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I'm wondering about the turbo mode. After 3 minutes, the output lowers.
Does that mean that you can't have turbo output unitl you change/charge the batteries, or can you just turn the light of and then on, and have the full output again?
This is probably a silly question but please forgive me, I'm a flashlight noob.
No worries, it's an understandable question. As with most lights that have a timed step-down feature, you can re-activate in Turbo by turning the light off/on. As the batteries drain though, you may find the initial Turbo mode is not as bright as on a fresh set of cells (i.e., eventually, as the batteries drain, the highest modes may no longer be available).

And :welcome:
 

jazavac

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No worries, it's an understandable question. As with most lights that have a timed step-down feature, you can re-activate in Turbo by turning the light off/on. As the batteries drain though, you may find the initial Turbo mode is not as bright as on a fresh set of cells (i.e., eventually, as the batteries drain, the highest modes may no longer be available).

And :welcome:

Thanks a lot for the answer and for the welcome. Just wanted to be sure before I buy the light.
Cheers!
 

HikingMano

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Few months later, and still lovin my EA4w :twothumbs

Shot on recent hike, sunlight white balance on point and shoot, light is in one of the medium modes I think:
IMG_7311_zps3e366903.jpg~original
 

ven

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Great pic,and i still love mine:twothumbs just a great little light imo,and very good value too
 

markr6

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Nice spot/spill shown in that pic! I still have both my EA4 and EA4w, but rarely use the cool white. Thinking about selling it, but I think I keep it around just to remind myself how nice the neutral is! EA4w is still the best tint of all my lights, except those with Nichia 219. Maybe even better than my new SC62d.
 
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HikingMano

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It definitely has a pretty good tint! I agree, not as good as my L10 with Nichia 219, but still very very good and more than good enough for outdoors use. My H52w may be slightly better, but not discernible in practical use.
 

woodrow

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Thanks for this review ... and so many others as well, Selfbuilt. I have and love this light. Remembering that I am from the generation of flashlight users that used to think nothing of spending $10 for 2x123a batteries to power my SF 6p at 200 lumens for 20 minutes, I decided to throw some E2 lithium batteries in the light. 6.2 volts of blue flashes on the power switch and the light is noticeably lighter. Because of your review, I will keep the light in lockout mode when not in use, but taking it with me to work each day and having an extra pack of 4 e2's (now with 20 year shelf life) and I have the perfect glove box light. Thanks again for the great review.
 

Timothybil

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Love mine too, and also use E2s (at least until I can afford some Eneloops, now that I have my I4 charger). I would be careful with leaving your EA4 in the glove box, because some owners have been reporting problems with the switch cover that appear to be heat related. It's not that big, just stick it in its holster and leave it on your belt all the time. It can be an additional EDC.:thumbsup:
 

mcorp

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Yeah the switch cover would expand or even leaving the ea4 on high for abt an hour would cause it to expand. But they have since updated the switch cover and the new ones are fine:)
 

Swedpat

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I have played a while with the new EA4W now. The switch works properly and I can just say that I really like this light. The hold comfort is good, neutral tint is nice and the brightness and throw is impressive. This is not a pure thrower but pretty much an allround light with good throw and bright spill.
Even after a few weeks I am still impressed by the compact format for beeing a 4AA light and the amount of light it puts out. But while it's compact it still a substantial light: it feels pretty heavy in the hand which contribute to the quality feeling. Anything else than a cheapy plastic here...
Ok; there is still a small issue with the switch: now and then it happens that the strobe turns on when I want to turn off the light. But it may be that the switch is very sensitive and that I now and then fail to do an enough distinct full press on the switch. Otherwise it works properly.


If I would change anything with EA4 it would be a lower lowest mode and bigger steps between the modes. For example: 5lm, 50lm, 200lm, 500lm, ~750lm(based on that the neutral option has slightly lower output than the cool). Also a mode selection ring would make this light even better. But I guess that had result in longer light, so you can't get everything...

The conclusion is that Nitecore EA4 is the 4AA flashlight I like most of all 4AA lights I have experienced. I will do some runtime test soon, maybe this evening.

Update:
I started the light 24 hours ago at the 300lm mode(around 250lm with the neutral). Budget alkalines from a swedish electronic dealer. During 2h and 40m the output was practically flat, only 4% drop at 2h 40m compared to the start. Short after that the brightness started to drop. 50% of initial brightness was at nearly exactly 3 hours. Around 15 minutes later the brightness had dropped to 10%. At 12 hours the light still shined at 5-10lm. And now at 24 hours mark it's almost as bright as 12 hours ago.
So it seems this light is a battery vampire. Good to know if you don't want to be left in the dark. I wonder if I shall let the light go another day(s) and night(s) to see how long it runs?...

Update 48 hours from start: the light is still almost as bright as at 24 hours mark. Propably it will continue a few days more, maybe a week at very slowly declining output but it's enough for me. Read that it's a theory that draining alkaline very low may increase the risk for leaking so I stop it now. I will put in the Eneloops again and enjoy the light. :)
 
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maypo59

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I bought one of these last summer, after a bit of research. Best flashlight I have ever used. I belong to a camping group, and by the time the season was over, 4 others had bought one.

I know this is an older thread, and this question is just a bit off topic, but on the (very nicely detailed) graphs, it appears the light runs best with enloops? I bought a couple sets of them for the long storage times, but have so far actually run the light just on decent quality alkalines. If it's not me misreading the graphs, it would seem running the enloops as my regular battery would be a good thing. Any advice on that..?

I haven't read far enough yet to find if a review has been done of the EC1 by Nitecore, but I picked up one of those to replace a minimag that died after 30 years, and have been very happy with it also.
 

selfbuilt

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but on the (very nicely detailed) graphs, it appears the light runs best with enloops? I bought a couple sets of them for the long storage times, but have so far actually run the light just on decent quality alkalines. If it's not me misreading the graphs, it would seem running the enloops as my regular battery would be a good thing. Any advice on that..?
Alkaline is really designed for low current drain devices (lile remotes, clocks, etc.). NiMH rechargeable is much better suited for higher current drain (like flashlights). Multi-battery lights typically do "ok" on alkalines, as the load is shared across the batteries. However, the main problem is the risk of leaking - all alkalines can leak, and if they do, they will likely destroy the flashlight circuit. It is therefore much safer to use NiMH rechargeables.

Until the Eneloops came along, the main issue with NiMH was their high self-discharge rate. With the old NiMHs, charge them and put them in a light, leave it on the shelf, and it would be nearly dead when you go to use it in a year. This is no longer a problem - with Eneloop low-self-discharge characteristics, the batteries still have >70-80% charge remaining at a year. So, there really is no reason not to routinely run on Eneloops.

I haven't read far enough yet to find if a review has been done of the EC1 by Nitecore, but I picked up one of those to replace a minimag that died after 30 years, and have been very happy with it also.
I've reviewed that light as well. See my master review list at flashlightreviews.ca.

And :welcome:
 

g4ptek

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Best compact flashlight I ever bought.
It is super bright and only uses 4 batteries that will last for a long time.
 

maypo59

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Alkaline is really designed for low current drain devices (lile remotes, clocks, etc.). NiMH rechargeable is much better suited for higher current drain (like flashlights). Multi-battery lights typically do "ok" on alkalines, as the load is shared across the batteries. However, the main problem is the risk of leaking - all alkalines can leak, and if they do, they will likely destroy the flashlight circuit. It is therefore much safer to use NiMH rechargeables.


And :welcome:

Thanks for the welcome..

And the reviews list direct link.

I always thought it was more about the voltage, that lights would run better because they had (nominally) in this case, 6volts on alkaline, but only 4.8v when using rechargeables. So I just guessed the light would 25% or less bright.

I did know the point of the enloops was to combat the self discharge issue. Went ahead and loaded the EA4 with them, seems just as bright to my eye, anyways, as when running alkaline batteries. So now a dozen of them are out of my emergency kit and in rotation. Oh, and know about that "leaking" years ago the Army lost my hold baggage for about 8 months. I would say about 2 days after it shipped, my (then stupendous) 3D maglight batteries apparently decided to dissolve themselves. When I finally got my stuff, it was in pretty sad shape, but I was able to spend a weekend cleaning it up and got it working again, still have it, I think I bought it in the PX in about 1980.
 

selfbuilt

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I always thought it was more about the voltage, that lights would run better because they had (nominally) in this case, 6volts on alkaline, but only 4.8v when using rechargeables. So I just guessed the light would 25% or less bright.
No, all modern LED lights have a multi-power circuit that regulate output. There is typically no difference in initial brightness between 1.5V alkaline and 1.2V NiMH - although NiMH chemistry will allow a light to maintain Hi output levels for longer.

This is also why you were able to recover your old 3D Mag after the batteries leaked - all that likely happened is that they corroded the metal contact surfaces. But with the integrated circuit in modern lights, that stuff will eat right through and destroy them in no time.
 

flitter296

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Thanks selfbuilt for this great review of the Nitecore EA4 flashlight! I had been looking for a bright LED flashlight with multiple modes in a small form factor that used AA batteries. Because of your review I ultimately chose the Nitecore EA4, and received it about a week ago. I've been using it a lot, partly to get used to the UI, and partly because I like it a lot. But I have a question. Based on my personal observations there is a very visible difference between the modes, except going from High to Turbo. Turbo, on my light at least, seems only SLIGHTLY brighter than High mode, yet it is rated as having the greatest increase in lumen output of any of the modes.

Lower - 65lm to Low - 135lm = 70lm increase
Low - 135lm to Mid - 300lm = 165lm increase
Mid - 300lm to High - 550lm = 250lm increase
High - 550lm to Turbo - 860lm = 310lm increase

The different beam shots I saw all showed a more noticeable increase between High and Turbo than I am seeing with my light. I checked all of the (alkaline) batteries with a DMM and they all had 1.6x volts, and the light's voltage reading upon soft lockout confirms this. Is my light defective or is this just because High mode is so bright that my eyes just don't see that much of a difference when I switch to Turbo? Has anyone else noticed this with their EA4? Would using eneloops give me more brightness on Turbo?
 

roberta

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Good Day flitter296,

I have found a Very visible difference when I started using Eneloops rather than Alkaleaks (the output on Turbo is brighter with Eneloops)...
This is because the driver can draw a higher current from the Eneloops.

Regards,
Roberta
 

selfbuilt

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Turbo, on my light at least, seems only SLIGHTLY brighter than High mode, yet it is rated as having the greatest increase in lumen output of any of the modes. ... I checked all of the (alkaline) batteries
I have found a Very visible difference when I started using Eneloops rather than Alkaleaks (the output on Turbo is brighter with Eneloops)...This is because the driver can draw a higher current from the Eneloops.
I would normally agree with Roberta - that is typically the case. However, on my original EA4 sample, I noticed a peculiarity whereby the light was brighter on alkaline than on Turbo initially. See this table from the review

EA4-Lumens.gif


Of course, that is for brand new, fresh alkaline cells. Once they have a few mins of runtime on them, they will be lower in output on Max. And newer EA4 could be different from my earlier sample. :shrug:

In any case, I think the explanation for what you are experiencing has to do with how we perceive light. It is not the absolute lumen difference that you are perceiving, but relative change. This is how nervous systems work when interpreting sensory data. If you look at the difference in relative output between levels, you will find that the jump from Hi to Turbo is in fact the lowest relative change across all levels (i.e., the relative percent change drops as you go up by each level).

But it is even worse that that - our perceptions are not linear to start with. There are series of power relationships that have been empirically determined to correspond to relative sensory perceptions. For a non-point source of light, a cube-root power relationship is the best fit. So that would further diminish the relative perception of what we seeing (i.e., even though its a ~55% increase from Hi to Turbo on NiMH, it might only seem like a ~15% increase). See this post for a discussion of the Stevens' power law for sensory perceptions.
 

ven

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I agree 100% with our perceptions,i have an ea4 and an ea8,both from high to turbo is noticeable but by not what you would expect it to be.The same on my tm15 which i find easier to explain with from another perspective.

On high its around 1300lm,turbo 2450lm so a huge 1150lm jump.It is obviously noticeable ,but not in the same way for example as going from 50lm to 1200lm,same difference in lumen jump but a lot bigger difference OTF .

iirc it takes around 4 x the lumens to appear twice as bright in general
 

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