Review: Convoy C8+ Sand/Desert Tan

stephenk

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Aug 13, 2015
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761
Location
Brisbane, Australia
The Convoy C8 is a classic budget thrower flashlight that has been around for many years in various iterations. With many other manufacturers selling lights identical in appearance, it was time for Convoy to introduce a new look C8 – introducing the Convoy C8+.

Disclaimer

The Convoy C8+ was send for an honest review by Banggood. Product Link.
$20.99 with code:02c657

Construction

The Convoy C8+ arrived wrapped in bubble wrap, inside a plain white cardboard box. The only included accessory was a lanyard.
The Convoy C8+ has a similar overall profile to the C8 with a larger head than the battery tube to accommodate the smooth reflector and Cree XP-L HI LED emitter, however the addition of cooling fins on the head and tail provides a fresh new look. The fins are better for preventing roll than the older C8. The knurling on the tube is much more grippy than the C8. The Convoy logo is now below the head, rather than being along the battery tube. The C8+ is currently available in Sand / Desert Tan colour.
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C8 on left, C8+ on right

The head and tail cap both unscrew. The tail cap is anodised, and slight turn mechanically locks out the light for safety. The threads are identical to the C8, and thus the C8+ and C8 can lego to provide some interesting looks (as per the photo). The battery tube in the C8+ is bored wider than in my older C8 (clear anodisation/silver) which allows obese protected batteries such as the Klarus 3600mAh 18650 to fit (just). There are springs at both end of the battery tube which allows both flat top and button top 18650s to be used – take note Nitecore
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There is no internal USB charging which is expected at this price point, but may deter some of the consumer market.
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Lego C8/C8+

User Interface

The C8+ firmware (known as “Biscotti”) is massive improvement over the previous 3/5 mode user interface on most of the older C8 models which had a few quirks related to memory mode. The 12 mode group options and reverse clicky switch should suit most user requirements, other than those who require forward clickies for momentary output. Options included or excluded from some mode groups include moonlight, strobe, bike flashing, SOS, and battery check. The mode groups are as follows:
1 0.1%, 1%, 10%, 35%, 100%, strobe, biking, battery-check
2 0.1%, 1%, 10%, 35%, 100%
3 100%, 35%, 10%, 1%, 0.1%
4 1%, 20%, 100%, strobe, biking, battery-check, SOS
5 1%, 20%, 100%
6 100%, 20%, 1%
7 0.1%, 1%, 10%, 50%, strobe, biking, battery-check, SOS
8 0.1%, 1%, 10%, 50%
9 50%, 10%, 1%, 0.1%
10 1%, 10%, 35%, 100%
11 100%, 20%, strobe
12 100% only
Changing mode groups and turning memory on/off is fairly easy process, starting with 10 taps to enter configuration mode. I currently have mine set on mode group 2 – 0.1%, 1%, 10%, 35%, 100% with memory on. To advanced to the next mode requires a tap, rather than a full click. Memory mode (when on) works perfectly.

I think Biscotti is a great user interface – very programmable, but also very easy to use. The C8+ has a two frequency strobe. As a light painting photographer I would much prefer a single frequency strobe with 50/50 on/off time. Momentary functionality is also unavailable, but that would require an additional switch or an e-switch, and thus a new design.
Biscotti includes low voltage protection. When the cells are nearly discharged output steps down to moonlight output, and the light continues to run with moonlight output for a few hours. This means that user won’t be suddenly left in the dark. Eventually the low voltage protection will kick in. The cell used for testing was at a resting voltage of 2.9V after the low voltage protection kicked in. The C8+ can also be locked out by slightly unscrewing the tail cap threads.
Heat at 100% power is managed quite well for such a small light. I manually stepped down after 8 minutes (in 16C ambient heat and no wind) as the head was getting too hot for my liking (I’m quite cautious). I did not notice any significant improvement in heat handling compared to the clear anodised C8 (which also has a DTP board) despite the more visible cooling fins. In cooler ambient conditions, the C8 should be able to run the light on high for considerably longer. Heat is not an issue at 50% or lower modes.

Beam and Output

The Convoy C8+ is available with V2-1A, U6-3A, U6-4C, and U4-7A Cree XP-L HI emitter options covering cool, neutral, and warm white. I really like that Convoy have a good range of colour temperatures. Output with a 7A warm white emitter was tested to be approximately 900 lumens at 30 seconds (with freshly charge Sanyo NCR18650GA cells) based on a ceiling bounce test. Peak beam intensity is estimated to be approximately 60k cd. The cooler white versions will have slightly more output, though there is visually not much difference between 7A and 1A in terms of brightness. Cooler white beams are more visible mid-air. There is no difference in output between the more recent clear anodised C8 and C8+.
The beam is typical for a thrower, with a small intense hotspot, and less bright spill beam. The throw certainly has a “wow” factor, and provides useful illumination well beyond 200m, and out performs most zoomy lights on zoom. Due to the use of 8*7135 chips, the output declines slowly as the battery voltage drops. There is no automatic step-down, which means the light can be run at maximum output until it needs to be stepped down manually due to heat. I like this lack of automatic step-down, but is does require the user to be responsible.

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1A C8 Left, 7A C8+ Right

The CRI appeares to be in the typical 70+CRI range. PWM is fast enough to not be detectable in any mode when videoing.
A year of so ago the Convoy C8 was almost class leading in terms of throw. However, in the last year, other budget to mid-market products have come onto the market that out perform the C8 in terms of lumens and throw. Whilst not everyone wants a trouser burning hotrod flashlight, and the C8+ still has a “wow” factor, I would like to see Convoy implement a higher output version with step-down to keep up with market trends.

Conclusion

Things I like:
- Fresh new look
- Simple, but programmable user interface
- No automatic step-down (but requires a responsible user)
- Choice of colour temperatures/tints
- Now fits larger protected 18650s
- Fits flat and button top, protected and unprotected 18650s
- Better anti-roll than original C8
- Good value for money

Things I didn’t like
- Maximum output lacking behind peers
- Two frequency strobe
- No momentary switch

The Convoy C8+ gives the classic C8 a fresh new look. The great user interface, choice of tints/colour temperatures, good heat handling, and great value for money make the C8+ an excellent option for a useful throwy light. It is however no longer market leading in terms of throw and output for its class of light.

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1A C8 Left, 7A C8+ Right; f/5, 4secs, ISO400.
 

KITROBASKIN

Flashlight Enthusiast
CPF Supporter
Joined
Mar 28, 2013
Messages
4,462
Location
New Mexico, USA
Thinking throw numbers compared with the competition may look significantly less but in actual use, one has to wonder how much more those other flashlights really throw compared to this. That is, using your eyes to compare.
 

WalkIntoTheLight

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Jun 18, 2014
Messages
3,971
Location
Canada
Thinking throw numbers compared with the competition may look significantly less but in actual use, one has to wonder how much more those other flashlights really throw compared to this. That is, using your eyes to compare.

It's actually quite a bit more throw, even to the eyes. When I compare a FET-driven light like the Astrolux C8, against the Convoy C8 (XPL-HI, 8x7135), side-by-side, the Astrolux is clearly a lot brighter and with significantly more throw.

On paper, it's 60% brighter and 60% more lux. It does make a real difference in use.

The Convoy is still a good thrower, though, and I prefer it's user-interface. So, I tend to use the Convoy a lot of the time, and the Astrolux only when I need something with maximum throw. Also, the Astrolux eats batteries due to it running at about twice the current, so it's not good for long-duration use.
 

stephenk

Enlightened
Joined
Aug 13, 2015
Messages
761
Location
Brisbane, Australia
It's actually quite a bit more throw, even to the eyes. When I compare a FET-driven light like the Astrolux C8, against the Convoy C8 (XPL-HI, 8x7135), side-by-side, the Astrolux is clearly a lot brighter and with significantly more throw.

On paper, it's 60% brighter and 60% more lux. It does make a real difference in use.

The Convoy is still a good thrower, though, and I prefer it's user-interface. So, I tend to use the Convoy a lot of the time, and the Astrolux only when I need something with maximum throw. Also, the Astrolux eats batteries due to it running at about twice the current, so it's not good for long-duration use.

I would agree. The Astrolux and Emisar D1S are around double the lux, but in the real world practical use, I prefer the Convoy. The Convoy also has a strobe (which I've successfully used to deter animals), which the Emisar lacks.
 

roach1492

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Dec 1, 2014
Messages
38
Just got my C8+ a couple days ago,must say i'm more than impressed.It out throws my older c8 hands down,with the biscotti it's hard to beat.I have a couple diffusers on the way too should be a good pair up.
 

Swedpat

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Jan 5, 2008
Messages
3,448
Location
Boden, Sweden
Convoy C8+ really is a good looking light and with many options of UI and tints.
Is there any runtime graph available? Especially I wonder about the 100% level. But the 50% level would be good to know as well.
 

jdvoracek

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Feb 9, 2018
Messages
4
Location
Texas
This is also a great host for building for serious high output lights. Get the host version, add a 3 to 6 V boost driver (bypass the spring!), use a Cree XHP 50.2 or enlarged the reflector hole a few mm, create a custom spacer and use an XHP 70.2. The head is a great heat sink for these emitters.
 

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