Nitecore TM16 (4xXM-L2, 4x18650) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

Timothybil

Timothybil

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BTW, did anyone ever figure out why the TM16 takes so long to turn its LEDs off? 1 of the 4 LEDs in mine takes noticeably longer than others, but they all basically dim out instead of just turning off.
Don't forget - the visible light we see is actually being produced by phosphors being stimulated by the actual LED emitter. I would guess that, due to variances in the phosphor makeup, some of the phosphors are slower in giving up all their energy than others after being hit for a while with 1,000 lumens. I have noticed the same phenomenon on my TM16. It is obvious the LED is off, but there is a dimming glow for about a short second.
 
Timothybil

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Selfbuilt, in your testing did you happen to measure the current draw on Turbo? Some have raised the question of ICR 18650 cells ability to keep up when the light is in Turbo mode.

As always, thanks for your efforts on our behalf. I don't know what we would do without you and our other review gurus to give us the straight story.
 
100eyes

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Don't forget - the visible light we see is actually being produced by phosphors being stimulated by the actual LED emitter. I would guess that, due to variances in the phosphor makeup, some of the phosphors are slower in giving up all their energy than others after being hit for a while with 1,000 lumens. I have noticed the same phenomenon on my TM16. It is obvious the LED is off, but there is a dimming glow for about a short second.

That was recorded turning off from moonlight mode. I also just received the TK75 2015 since I wanted to compare it against the TM16; all LEDs turn off instantly in all modes.
 
selfbuilt

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Selfbuilt, in your testing did you happen to measure the current draw on Turbo? Some have raised the question of ICR 18650 cells ability to keep up when the light is in Turbo mode.
No, as that is not so easy to do - the cell setup is not simple, and a regular DMM and leads will not give you an accurate current reading (even if you wired it all up). I know from experience that output is generally affected by the resistance of the DMM and/or leads, rendering the results invalid.

Just going from the runtimes, it seems like ICR cells should be alright.
 
selfbuilt

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I don't know if is a reliable source, but seems that output is a little different depending of the batteries type
I can give it a try to see, but it will likely be a few days before I can get around to testing it.
 
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JoeSW

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I did a quick test with my TM16 at about 2.5m from a white wall at Turbo. I compared the Olight 18650 3400mAh and Acebeam ARC18650H-250A using LG 18650HE2 20A 2500mAh cells.

Battery | Incident | Reflected
Olight | 13000lux | 3300 cd/m^2 (lux)
Acebeam | 14000lux | 3600 cd/m^2 (lux)

Measurements were taken with a Sekonic L-758C light meter. The TM16 was positioned on a tripod.
The TM16 voltmeter showed 4.1V for both sets of batteries after testing. I'll see if I have time to repeat the test with both sets of batteries freshly charged. I did not bother to cool down the light and I tested the Olight before the Acebeam batteries.

The results show a clear increase in light output for the Acebeam IMRs compared to the protected Olight cells.
 
selfbuilt

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Yes, I have just done an output test on Acebeam 2500mAh IMR cells (20A rated), and get a ~6% increase in ANSI FL-1 max output, over NCR18650A 3100mAh ICR. So, that would be ~3750 estimated lumens.

I will do runtimes when I get a chance, and update this review in a couple of weeks (currently away). :wave:
 
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billcushman

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I have used several different types of batteries in my TM16. With Olight 3400 mAh batteries it put out 125000 candela (measured at 5 meters). With genuine Efest 2500 mAh 35A IMR button top (purple) batteries its output was 135000 candela. With EagleTac 3400 batteries it did not work because the button top did not project enough above the body (these were a couple of years old, current production may be different). I was lucky to get a TM16 with output greater than specs. My EC4 is just slightly below specs on output. My Olight SR52, SR90, and two S30Rs all exceed specs by a significant margin. In his excellent review, Selfbuilt found his TM16 was just a little lower than specs in Candelas. The M4D MAX TM16 review at BudgetLightForums found similar results from IMR batteries. The Efest IMR batteries are not protected and must be charged properly and cannot be discharged too low or they will be damaged.

I have some Samsung 25R 20A INR button top batteries ordered that may be here tomorrow. I expect these will perform the same at the Efest 35A IMRs.
 
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Timothybil

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I am a little upset at the apparent lack of regulation on Turbo mode. The curve actually looks like a direct drive curve. It looks like after a time I can actually get more light from High than Turbo as the cells run down. Other Nitecore lights easily make 1k lumens with regulation, so why not use it in this one? Any of our driver gurus have an idea?
 
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billcushman

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I just received some Samsung 25R Button Top Batteries (Blue INR) to compare output with the Efest 35A Button Top Batteries ( Purple IMR) that were recently purchased for use in my Nitecore TM16. Beam intensity output measured 137000 Candelas with the 25Rs compared to 135000 Candelas with the Efest 35As. However this was not due to a difference in the batteries. I recently bought a Thrunite MCC-4 charger. Previously I had charged the batteries in a Nitecore D4. Batteries came off the chargers at different voltages. The D4 charged the batteries to 4.18 volts and the MCC-4 charged the batteries to 4.24 volts. The voltages were carefully measured to five digits on a Fluke 289 high accuracy DVM after allowing them to rest for one hour. I repeated the beam intensity measurement with the Efest batteries charged on the MCC-4 and also obtained 137000 candelas (same as the 25As). The difference was due to the higher voltage, not a difference in the batteries. The button top on both batteries looked exactly the same. The 25R weighed 44.47 grams and the Efest weighed 45.10 grams. I only weighed one sample of each battery.


Battery cycle life decreases rapidly when charged to voltages higher than 4.2 volts, so I will normally use the D4, but will use the MCC-4 for fast charging to above 4 volts and switch to the D4 for finishing the charge when time is a concern. The D4 only charges at .375A with 4 batteries, whereas the MCC-4 charges 4 batteries at 1A.


It is normally hard to find the Samsung 25R in the button top configuration (required for the TM16) but IMRbatteries.com in Houston TX has an incredible selection of lithium-ion cells. Their prices were excellent and delivery was very fast. They even included a nice four battery plastic case with the 25A button tops.


All beam intensity measurements were made with a Extech EA33 in the Candela mode (it allows you to input distance and automatically computes the output in Candelas) at a distance of 5 meters. I have previously compared the EA33 to my Spectroradiometer ($$$$$ and slow) and it agrees closely.


Both the Efest 35A Purple Button Top and the Samsung 25R button top give about 8% increased output in the Nitecore TM16 when compared to Olight 3400 batteries. Care must be taken to not over discharge the unprotected cells and they must be charged in a quality charger. I hope this long post will be helpful to everyone who owns or is considering a Nitecore TM16. It is a great light.
 
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akhyar

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Thanks for sharing your experienced on the output from different batteries.
I have Keeppower IMR3200mAh in the post that I'm planning to use with the TM16 as right now it is being fed with protected NCR18650B. Will see if the increase in output is noticeable to my naked eye. Just kidding!
I do agree that it is more difficult to find stock button-top IMR batteries, unless we go the rewrappers route souch as those for KP, Efest, etc.
 
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WarRaven

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Good info guys.
Interesting to see even OEM lights can benefit from better then average high drain cells.
 
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davpet

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I am a little upset at the apparent lack of regulation on Turbo mode. The curve actually looks like a direct drive curve. It looks like after a time I can actually get more light from High than Turbo as the cells run down. Other Nitecore lights easily make 1k lumens with regulation, so why not use it in this one? Any of our driver gurus have an idea?

On Nitecore's website it says that the TM16 has advanced temperature regulation technology, which dynamically adjusts output according to body temperature. But in that case the output would stop decreasing after a while. I agree with you, the output curve looks bad. On the positive side, if I see it correctly on the picture, turbo and high intersect at around 90 minutes, so you have over 2000 lumens for almost 1.5 hours, which is not bad. :) Of course with such a large mass it's not a big achievement.
 
markr6

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Sound like Nitecore needs some driver help in general.
 
Timothybil

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I do agree that it is more difficult to find stock button-top IMR batteries, unless we go the rewrappers route souch as those for KP, Efest, etc.
I just ordered four of the Nitecore NI18650A 2000 mAh cells from Gear Best when I ordered the light. They were like $8.00 USD each. I realize that is a big difference than the 3600 mAh ICR cells available, but my understanding is that IMR cells don't have the power density of ICR cells anyway, and I like the fact that I know I am making available all the power needed to get the max out of my light.

What I don't understand is why it is almost impossible to find a US seller of Nitecore IMR cells. They don't even have them listed on their website. From everything I can tell looking at the cells and how they perform, they don't seem to be counterfeit, so what gives? Anyone have any ideas?
 
akhyar

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I'm not a fan of flashlight brand batteries, coz for all we know, they just outsource to OEM rewrapper and charge premium for their brands.
Nitecore batteries are on the expensive side and I'd rather buy batteries from Keeppower, Efest or factory brand. If I want to splurge, I'll buy AW
 
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Anyone have any ideas?

I gave up and now buy Orbtronic and Simon 3400 mAh 18650 batteries. Yes, a few dollars more but oh well. At some-time-and-point, I gave in, said they won, buy and get on with my life. Good batteries, good charger, stupid life.

My above is a suggestion and a revelation of what I do.

FWIW, I have the TM16 and as a light, I love it.
 
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billcushman

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After buying a Nitecore TM16, I read several reviews of the Acebeam K60 and wanted to really compare both lights, so I purchased an Acebeam K60.

The K60 heats very quickly, especially in the area of the adjustment ring. That area is hot when the fins on the head are barely warm. After 2 minutes when the K60 steps down on level 6, the adjustment ring is almost too hot to touch, but can be rotated if you do it quickly. The fins on the K60 head heat at a much slower rate. The TM16 heats much less in the area of the switch. I suspect that the plastic reflector on the TM16 uses a trick employed by Kodak on slide projectors. The Kodak trick was to use a dichroic reflector coating on a plastic reflector that allowed visual light to be reflected but infrared heat to pass thru. With a conventional metal reflector that effective and clever method is not possible.

I expected to really like the battery carrier on the K60, but find it is a lot more trouble and slower than just dropping the batteries in on the TM16. The battery carrier adds complexity and weight. Aligning the pins on the TM16 cap is somewhat difficult but you get better with practice.

The flat regulation of the K60 is much better than the continuously declining output of the TM16 at the highest level. The TM16 has an area of declining output at the end on all levels. The K60 has absolutely flat regulation at all levels except for the timed two minute drop down on level 6.

The variable frequency strobe of the K60 is very effective. The light reminds me of my Jetbeam RRT-3 (SST-50). The variable frequency strobe plays crazy tricks with your eyes and is superior to the fixed frequency strobe of the TM16.

I am using Samsung button top 25R 20A 2500mAh INR batteries in both lights for best performance. The beam intensity on my TM16 is about 135000 Candelas measured at 5 meters. The beam intensity of my K60 is about 155000 Candelas under the same conditions. The TM16 output is voltage sensitive, the K60 is not. Measurement on both were taken with the batteries fully charged using a Extech EA33. The central hot spot on my K60 appears slightly dimmer in the center. This is apparent when moving the beam sideways, but barely detectable when the light is stationary.

The TM16 voltage indicator in the switch is a nice feature. The TM16 will not work with flat top batteries, The K60 uses either flat top or button top batteries. The Nitecore TM16 is widely available at US dealers. The K60 is not widely available at US dealers and is usually ordered from dealers in Hong Kong or China.

Both the Nitecore TM16 and Acebeam K60 are excellent high quality flashlights, very similar in output and size. Hopefully these observations will help you decide which is better for you.
 
facepalm69

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Has anyone had experience running the TM16 with 4x KeepPower 18650 3500mAh's (protected)? Any CD/Lumen measurements?

Since they can deliver 10A and got a low internal resistance the output should be higher with them than with some Panasonic NCR18650B 3400mAh's, right?
 
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