Nitecore Explorer (EC1, EC2, EA1, EA2) Round-up Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO+

awes

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First of, thanks to Selfbuilt for the comprehensive review.

I have a theory on the poor red light of EC1 performance. It's probably a standard SMD red LED 1.5V, so the input voltage (3.0-4.2) is too much. It's possible that Nitecore didn't implement a proper step-down circuit, but instead they just inserted a resistor in line. This is the simplest way to cut voltage, but also the worst and least efficient. The resistor dispatch all unneeded energy by heat, which means the energy is wasted.
I can be wrong, though.

Nonetheless, the red beacon is such a nice feature, that I plan to order a EC1. Or maybe there are some other (R)CR123 light, that have this feature?
 
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Patriot

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That could be but I don't think it would explain the issues with the EA1. No resister needed for 1.2V.
 

tam17

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I have a theory on the poor red light of EC1 performance. It's probably a standard SMD red LED 1.5V, so the input voltage (3.0-4.2) is too much. It's possible that Nitecore didn't implement a proper step-down circuit, but instead they just inserted a resistor in line. This is the simplest way to cut voltage, but also the worst and least efficient. The resistor dispatch all unneeded energy by heat, which means the energy is wasted. I can be wrong, though.

I don't think that's the problem, since AFAIK not every individual EC1/EA1 unit is affected. It's more an issue of flaky drivers and poor QC.

cheers
 

Slocketman

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Does anyone know how the EC2 does with different types of protected & non-protected 18650 cells?
I'm looking to use it with Panasonic protected NCR18650B's and would hate if they didn't fit right/rattled or something.

Recently gave two EA2's as Christmas gifts and I love the dual switch UI design (can use all functions single-handed in overhand or underhand grip) and red moonlight LED. Can't seem to find anything with a similar button/UI.
 

Patriot

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I dropped a Redilast 2900mAh into my EC2 today and it didn't operate. I tried a second one, same thing. I've been using the EAGTAC 3400's which have been working great but grabbed the Redilast cell because it was freshly charged. I still haven't figured out why they don't work but I'm wondering of they're just a little bit too long.

Anyone else tried the Redilast in this light?
 

Bullzeyebill

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Google, cpf only, Redilast 2900mAh too long, and see what comes up. They are pretty long and my experience with too long cells of any make or type can cause erratic or no power to the LED.

Bill
 

Slocketman

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I dropped a Redilast 2900mAh into my EC2 today and it didn't operate. I tried a second one, same thing. I've been using the EAGTAC 3400's which have been working great but grabbed the Redilast cell because it was freshly charged. I still haven't figured out why they don't work but I'm wondering of they're just a little bit too long.

Anyone else tried the Redilast in this light?

Thanks Patriot, that helps a lot. It just occurred to me that the Nitecore branded 18650's are probably assured to work well with the EC2, so a cell of similar design should work too.
These Nitecore 2600mah's are listed as 70mm x 18.7mm (with a small button top), which is among the longest protected 18650's (by checking HKJ's chart).
Your EAGTAC 3400mah's are 68.3mm x 18.4mm (small button top), among the shortest 18650's available but apparently work fine.
It's interesting to me that the Redilast cell is 68.9mm x 18.5mm but doesn't work, I wonder if it's the larger diameter button top or if it's too flat.
I've checked Selfbuilt's review and video, it looks like he used an AW protected 2200mah (small button top) with the EC2, at 67.4mm x 18.5mm it's quite a bit shorter than the Nitecore 2600mah.

From those data points, it seems like the EC2 works with most any length 18650 as long as it is a small button top.

Can anyone locate a picture of the inside of an EC2 to see what the positive terminal has to deal with? (Selfbuilt has a shot of the EC1 internals in the review but I can't find the EC2)
 

Bullzeyebill

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Interesting, I have found that some mostly flattop 18650's can be a problem with some of my lights, and I have added small diameter rare earth magnets to cure the problems.

Bill
 

selfbuilt

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Can anyone locate a picture of the inside of an EC2 to see what the positive terminal has to deal with? (Selfbuilt has a shot of the EC1 internals in the review but I can't find the EC2)
FYI, it looks pretty much the same.

Typically, I have found the same as Bullseyebill - the problem is often inconsistent contact with flat-top cells. I haven't seen the cells in question, but it looks from online pics that they have a wide button top. Although better than true flat-top, it is really only the small button top cells that consistently work in all lights. :shrug:
 

Slocketman

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Thanks selfbuilt!

I'm now awaiting a GoingGear shipment of an EC2, 2x EagleTac 3400mah's, and XTAR WP6 II charger :twothumbs
(my first pro flashlight purchase!)
 

Patriot

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Thanks Bullzeyebill, Slocketman & Selfbuilt. I really appreciate the info. The positive terminal on the inside of the light seem to make excellent contact with the positive battery terminal. It is the wide style of course but protrudes sufficiently to make easy contact. I can even pinch a ribbon in there with really good force so it's not a positive contact issue.

I also tried a couple of AW 2600mah cells and even though the positive terminal is actually countersunk slightly, contact is fine and the light operates.

At this stage everything is pointing to the overall cell length being too long with the Redilast 2900s. I'm not sure if the Redilast 3400mah are the same but I do have some Redilast 3100mah that I'll try tomorrow.
 

tam17

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I've picked up my replacement EC2 today. Previous one was returned to NC on grounds of not being up to spec (15lm Micro mode and PWM flickering in lower modes, despite the light being advertised as current-regulated). Link to my previous post is here.

Replacement EC2 has the exact same flaws as the returned sample (no, it's not the exact same flashlight, since S/N's don't match!) so this whole batch must be bug-plagued. I've decided to keep it anyway, since I can't get even remotely small 1x18650 in local stores, and tint on this new sample is pleasantly neutral (a true lottery win, considering it's a XP-G R5). I've been offered a refund or choice of another flashlight model, but I'm not exactly happy with any other light from current NC production.

Cheers
 

Ned-L

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Selfbuilt,

Thanks for the great review. I just received the EC2 I ordered a few days ago. It is surprisingly small for an 18650 light. Very unusual looking but in a very high tech kind of way.

I am planning on using it on my occasional nighttime mountain bike rides and was wondering if it should be okay to run it continuously on high for about 2 hours (I think it should last at least that long on a 3100 mAh protected 18650)? I know Nitecore indicates high mode is 200 lm/ 3 hr. I think your test showed 390 lm for turbo, but I couldn't find a measurement for high. I am pretty sure that I am reading your results for the runtime on high correctly at 2 hr 58 min.

One more question, I found that my other 18650 batteries have flat button tops and don't work in the EC2. Would it hurt to use a rare earth magnet as the button to make those 18650s work, as another post suggested?

Thanks for helping to feed my flashlight addiction with all your thorough reviews.
 

member 6142

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Selfbuilt,

One more question, I found that my other 18650 batteries have flat button tops and don't work in the EC2. Would it hurt to use a rare earth magnet as the button to make those 18650s work, as another post suggested?

Thanks for helping to feed my flashlight addiction with all your thorough reviews.

Being the meant usage bike riding, with all of bumps and so on, I would not recommend putting magnets. Just to avoid shorts ;)
Maybe Redilast 3100 having a raised + pole would fit the bill, but check in advance the pole diameter of the cell with a caliper, so that it will be gladly received by the recessed + pole of the flashlight.
 

selfbuilt

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I am planning on using it on my occasional nighttime mountain bike rides and was wondering if it should be okay to run it continuously on high for about 2 hours (I think it should last at least that long on a 3100 mAh protected 18650)? I know Nitecore indicates high mode is 200 lm/ 3 hr. I think your test showed 390 lm for turbo, but I couldn't find a measurement for high. I am pretty sure that I am reading your results for the runtime on high correctly at 2 hr 58 min.
Yes, that's what I found for my lower-capacity 2200mAh 18650 batteries (with very flat regulation). As you will see in the estimated output tables in the review, I would estimate ~250 lumens on Hi.

One more question, I found that my other 18650 batteries have flat button tops and don't work in the EC2. Would it hurt to use a rare earth magnet as the button to make those 18650s work, as another post suggested?
Being the meant usage bike riding, with all of bumps and so on, I would not recommend putting magnets. Just to avoid shorts ;)
Maybe Redilast 3100 having a raised + pole would fit the bill, but check in advance the pole diameter of the cell with a caliper, so that it will be gladly received by the recessed + pole of the flashlight.
+1 ... I do not recommend using magnets for general use - and certainly not for vigourous use like bike riding. A short would be a REALLY bad thing for the battery, turning it into a potential projectile.

You could try a dab of solder in the center of your flat-top cells (although I don't recommend inexperienced people take a soldering iron to batteries either). Safest all around to just invest in small button-top cells. :sweat:
 

Eye of Unk

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I washed my EC2 in my work pants by accident, moisture was in both the tube and head, battery died and the light has no stepping of light modes, only a high beam, the strobe sorta works as well as the SOS but it doesn't seem right.

Its being tossed in the extras box, I bought an EC25, maybe it'll last through the washing machine test better.
 

neksium

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Do you recommend me to buy the ec2? Really i love this light but i'm afraid for e series problems.
 

tam17

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I kinda learned to live with my EC2. It worked well so far (knock on wood :D) and regular wear from EDCing is starting to show. Still taking care not to dunk it in water or leave on Turbo for longer period of time, though. Its unusual appearance makes it a good conversation piece, and AFAIK (besides the PaLight V60) it's still THE shortest in-line 18650 flashlight. Its lowest mode (Micro) is not 2lm as advertised, but somewhere near 15lm. Runtimes? Don't ask.

Is this the recommendation? You decide ;)

Cheers
 

Bumble

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Do you recommend me to buy the ec2? Really i love this light but i'm afraid for e series problems.


buying a flashlight which you wont have much confidence in, is a bad idea imo...instead of the big smile on your face as you recieve your new flashlight, you will be looking at it with a "negative thought process" eg thinking "please please dont give me any problems" etc... this is not how buying a quality flashlight should be.
 
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