[Review] Magicshine MOH 35 - Rechargeable 21700-size 4000mAh, 1000 lumens headlamp

rookiedaddy

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Apr 21, 2009
Messages
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A Place Called HOME
Recently, Magicshine has been working hard on releasing new models of headlamps for outdoor enthusiast market, besides working with Olight on co-branding their bike lights, Magicshine has release 2 new models of headlamp, namely, MOH35 and MOH35B with the latter being a bluetooth programmable version of MOH35.

I was very excited to be given the chance to test and evaluate a unit of MOH35, 1000 lumens, 21700-size 4000mAh rechargeable battery, 3 LEDs headlamp.

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A general specifications about this Magicshine MOH 35:
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Contents in the package:
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MOH 35 headlamp, headbands, headbands accessories, 4000mAh battery pack, USB-C recharging cable, user manual

The 3 LEDs in the MOH 35:
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The LED sitting behind at the bottom TIR lens is the main cool white LED using a CREE XP-L2 V6, the top left sitting behind a diffused lens is the warm-white CREE XD-16 S2, the top right sitting behind a smaller TIR lens is the Red CREE XQ-E LED.
The XD-16 S2 is more of a neutral white although Magicshine quoted it as warm-white, but the colour temperature is approximately 4500K.

at the top of the headlamp is the one and only switch for ON-OFF and mode switching, I really like this big button! very accessible.
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for the User Interface, there are 3 groups of setting, one for each LED. switching from one group to another is easy, just double-click the big button.
take a look at the following UI diagram:
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there is one peculiar UI decision made by Magicshine that involves the main cool white LED, default mode and memory. MOH 35 will memorizes your selected group in selected brightness between ON-OFF. However, if you cycle between groups, the mode will reset to default mode, and that is High for cool white LED, Low for warm-white and red LED. I wish Magicshine would be more consistent in the default modes when switching between groups.

with the headbands installed, let us look at a couple of pictures of the MOH 35 headlamp:
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the headband is very comfortable to wear, except you may need to position the cable clip to not touch your head as it can create discomfort...

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... and my son approves...

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here we have the battery pack disconnected...

Let's take a closer look at the battery pack:
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as shown in the picture, it can output 4.2V 3.0A, the connector is connecting the main headlamp unit to battery pack.

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the battery pack is connected to the headband via a clip-on

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charging/discharging port is sealed by a soft rubberized cover...

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clicking on the right switch button will show you the state of charge of the battery where:
- 75-100% constant Green
- 50-74% blinky Green
- 25-49% constant Red
- 1-24% blinky Red

for recharging, open the cover and connect the USB-C cable to the USB-C port at the battery pack
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The battery pack will also continuously shows a blinking Red light when battery is low:
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The headlamp can tilt to approximately 60° angle for various illumination task:
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following are some beam profile shots... first up, the main cool white LED:
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next, the warm white LED:
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as you can see in the above picture, the colour temperature is more neutral white than warm white...

and the Red LED:
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the beam profiles are very smooth for all the LEDs, I'm honestly very impressed with Magicshine's choice of optics/lens even back when I tested their MOH 15 model.
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this cool white has good balance in both beam spread/flood and throw, can easily illuminate ~50 meters at High mode of 400 lumens.

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this warm (neutral) white LED is diffused for close illumination. the diffused beam is really useful for night reading/chores too.

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below are output and runtime quoted by Magicshine:
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and the output I measured in lumens:
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both the cool white and the warm (neutral) white LED are pretty much on point except the Red LED (more about this Red LED later).
the usual disclaimer: I do not claim the above measured lumens as authoritative nor an indication of over/under-stating the number given by manufacturer. My home-made light-box is calibrated against known light output (e.g. SureFire, Elzetta, etc.) so take it with a grain of salt and just as a relative reading.

my runtime test of Turbo and High mode (only for main cool white LED):
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although the Turbo mode exceeded the claim runtime, the high mode was ~2 hours short of the claimed runtime as MOH 35 drops to below 10% of the output at ~30 lumens.

in my testing, I was quite surprise that MOH 35 has thermal throttling, as can be seen from the following plot:
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MOH 35 was first run without any cooling (fully charged), and MOH 35 can only sustain the Turbo mode of 1000 lumens for approximately 2 minutes. After letting MOH 35 stepped down and rest for 5 minutes, the MOH 35 was ran again in Turbo mode with fan cooled, and this time, the Turbo mode can sustain for 5 minutes before stepping down. My observation shows that even the stepped down brightness under active cooling is brighter (at about 780 lumens compare to ~630 lumens) and reactivating the Turbo mode (by mode cycling), it can again sustain the 1000 lumens for another 5 minutes before stepping down again due to heat.

charging the MOH 35 from an almost fully drained battery takes approximately 2.5 hours and it supports fast charging at 2.3A:
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and when battery is full, the battery pack can provide a stable discharging rate of 2.5A with ease (note that I only tested discharging rate of up to 2.5A, but MOH 35 battery pack might be able to provide higher discharge rate):
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also, the specifications of the battery pack printed 5V 2.4A discharge/output, so a 2.5A discharge is already over the manufacturer's specifications.

A side story about the Red LED in MOH 35... as I'm coming to the end of a 2 weeks planned testing of MOH 35, I started noticing the Red LED flickering non-stop when in High mode. I didn't pay much of an attention to it at first as the other 2 LED was working perfectly and was thinking it could be a battery charge state issue, after leaving it for 2 days, the problem seems to go away when I pick-it up and recharge it fully. however, as I was finishing this review, and performing one last discharging test, the Red LED decides to give up and within 5 minutes of High mode, it switched to a very dim output, lower than 1 lumens from my measurement and no amount of recharging, connecting and disconnecting the cable will solve this. My earlier output measurement of below manufacturer's specifications for Red LED should have been an early warning sign about the unit's Red LED. I have since reported the problem to Magicshine and will update my review should I receive any updates about the problem from the manufacturer.
here is a video recorded showing the problem of the Red LED. The main cool white and warm-white LED still works perfectly.

In conclusion, I really like this Magicshine MOH 35 headlamp. It's a headlamp done right with minor peculiarities in the choice of UI consistency. In my testing and short time using it, I found it to exceed my expectations for a headlamp. I initially thought that running a 1000 lumens headlamp with such a small head is gonna be uncomfortable like other headlamps, but the design of MOH 35:
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leaving an air-gap between the heat-dissipating fins and the piece that contact our forehead proves to stop the generated heat from reaching our forehead, as I do not feel the heat coming from the headlamp at all.
 

Mark620

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Joined
Feb 22, 2006
Messages
326
Nice light. I'm disappointed in the Battery -seems very weak for the size(21700) 4000mAH. 18650's are available with 3400-3500mAH. I would expect this battery to have much more capacity.
 

Bolster

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Joined
Oct 7, 2007
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Location
Mexifornia
Excellent review! Thanks for posting it!

Q1: I wonder how many folks would want to wear a 21700 size battery? I think my ZL 18650 is pretty big — an H604c that puts out over 1600 lumen on a 3500 mAh cell. (But it doesn’t do different tints.)

Q2: If you’re in the field and you run out of battery juice, is there any way to insert a spare 21700? Or does one have to carry a battery pack and charge the headlamp via USB? I am thinking that just swapping out the cell would be pretty convenient, if it were possible…transferring electricity from battery to cell in the field loses a lot of amps in the transfer…

Q3: What is the purpose of the high red beam? It wouldn't protect night vision if it's that bright. Maybe as a rear light on a bicycle?
 
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xcandrew

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Nov 16, 2003
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Location
Earth
Excellent review! Thanks for posting it!

Q1: I wonder how many folks would want to wear a 21700 size battery? I think my ZL 18650 is pretty big — an H604c that puts out over 1600 lumen on a 3500 mAh cell. (But it doesn’t do different tints.)

Not that I like this particular light, but I would. The weight distribution is very important for stability and how it feels. I use a bike setup for running: a Yinding (2*XM-L2) with a 2x18650 pack on the backside of my head. It doesn't move at all when running, even without a top strap and the strap not very tight at all. It doesn't feel bulky or heavy in use. The reason is that the weight on the front of the head matters more than the back for stability of the light. The light head for the Yinding is 58 g, compared to a ZL 18650 at around 86 g. In practice, it is much more stable and comfortable than running than my old PT Eos for example. I also have the light head positioned as high as possible, at my hairline, which gives an advantage for light angle (5' higher than my eyes, better to be away from eyes in trail running for shadow definition on rough terrain), comfort (less sensitive than forehead right above eyes) and stability. The stability is because it's resting on a less vertical portion of the forehead, and the skin is also much tighter in the higher position than just above the eyebrows.

I actually removed the over-the-top strap recently from my Yinding setup to reduce bulk, and added a little cross strap on the back end (imitating the Petzl split strap design) only to keep the main strap from resting on my ears. I also modded the light head bracket, turning it upside down to use the extended portion that used to be for the over-the-top strap to instead provide a bit better bracing angle on the bottom side. It's 232 g everything included, but it's not any more bothersome to wear than a hat.

Rekkie's homemade running light doesn't have a battery in front for the same reason that my "heavy" setup works well, though he tosses the 21700 in a pack instead of the back of the head. https://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/showthread.php?458985-Build-Thread-Custom-Running-Headlamp

Orienteering runners sometimes use 5000+ lumen lights for racing around the woods around at night. They can do so because of light brackets and strap systems that have a lot more surface area to control the weight of the light head, though the battery packs are generally remote (in a vest on the body).

I've been thinking of getting a new one-piece 18650 headlamp, since a single 18650 can now probably provide enough light for running in the woods for 2 hours if the beam pattern is good, but I think I might find myself going backwards in terms of stability on the head with the L-shape and T-shape designs. I might try straight flashlight on top of the head because that would eliminate tilt rotation instability.
 
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