'SHOT SHOW Special' Review: FOURSEVENS Maelstrom Regen MMU-X3R (Proprietary 26650)

subwoofer

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'SHOT SHOW Specials' are a series of reviews inspired by, or as a consequence of, my visit to the SHOT SHOW 2015.
These may contain photos taken while travelling, and may be of a slightly different format.

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Author's Statement for Transparency and Disclosure
The test sample/s featured in this article have been provided for technical testing and review by the manufacturer. Test samples are retained by the reviewer following publication of the completed review for the purposes of long term testing and product comparisons.

All output figures and test results published in this review are the sole work of the reviewer, and are carried out independently and without bias. Test results are reported as found, with no embellishments or alteration. Though best endeavours are made to maintain the accuracy of test equipment, the accuracy of these results is not guaranteed and is subject to the test equipment functioning correctly.
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FOURSEVENS have a produced some really innovative lights, and in the MMU-X3R we have another. A compact, triple LED, 2000lm light which is USB rechargeable! This really is not much larger than many single 18650 lights, is similar in weight, but fits all these features in. A powerhouse in your pocket.

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Taking a more detailed look:


FOURSEVENS packaging is clean looking and very effective at displaying the light.

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Included are a 1A USB charger, USB cable, lanyard, two o-rings and the instructions. (the desk lamp and telephone were not included!)

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The model is neatly engraved at the base of the head.

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The charging port cover is very low profile (you might even miss it if you didn't know this had one) and here is unscrewed and drawn back to show the charging port's micro USB connector which is next to the charging indicator light.

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The FOURSEVENS logo is moulded into the tailcap switch.

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The tailcap has three contacts – the threads, and two sprung posts.

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Though you don't really need to take off the tailcap as the MMU-X3R has built in charging, the threads are nicely cut square threads.

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Powering the MMU-X3R is a proprietary 26650 with a double contact at each end.

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This is the tail-end double-contact of the 26650 cell. You can also see an arrow indicating which way to fit the cell. Despite other lights where the cell has twin contacts each end not minding which way round it goes, for the MMU-X3R it does matter which end is inserted first. Always ensure the arrow points towards the head. It won't damage the MMU-X3R if inserted the wrong way round, but it will not function if you do.

Inserting the cell the wrong way round can actually be used as a lockout facility for travelling.

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With three XM-L2 LEDs in a compact head, the MMU-X3R has a compound reflector.

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Now for the size - this is the MMU-X3R next to the Preon P2. The Preon is a 2x AAA light so is very small. The MMU-X3R is a compact light.

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For a further idea of size, here is the XL200 amongst a batch of lights on test.

From left to right these are: Olight S10R, Olight S15R, Olight S30R, FOURSEVENS Bolt-Action, FOURSEVENS Preon P2, FOURSEVENS MMU-X3R, Streamlight ProTac HL3, MAG-LITE XL200, NITECORE TM06, Lumintop ED20-T, V54 DC25Cvn and the Streamlight Siege AA.

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Getting ready for its workout in the integrating sphere the MMU-X3R on charge.

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The beam

Considering it has a triple LED compound reflector, the MMU-X3R's beam is very smooth. Some artefacts are inevitably visible near the edges of the beam, but not enough to be any bother at all.

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Please be careful not to judge tint based on images you see on a computer screen. Unless properly calibrated, the screen itself will change the perceived tint.
The indoor beamshot is intended to give an idea of the beam shape/quality rather than tint. All beamshots are taken using daylight white balance. The woodwork (stairs and skirting) are painted Farrow & Ball "Off-White", and the walls are a light sandy colour called 'String' again by Farrow & Ball. I don't actually have a 'white wall' in the house to use for this, and the wife won't have one!



Moving outdoors and this barely hand filling light certainly fills the garden with light!

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At the same exposure the reference Fenix TK41 (which is a lot larger) can't keep up at all.

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Modes and User Interface:

The tailcap switch of the MMU-X3R is a momentary type with latching if fully pressed, but importantly the 'partial' or full presses are interpreted as a two-stage like a camera shutter button during use. – I'll explain further.

Once the output mode is selected, the first stage of the button press (the momentary part) can be pressed as many times as you like, as rapidly as you like and it will only output the mode that was set.

Fully pressing the switch latches the output ON, but this also indicates to the MMU-X3R that mode changing can happen.

The user can actually change the list of available modes, but more on that in a moment.

Assuming you have several output modes available, after the MMU-X3R has been latched ON, a rapid full double tap on the tail switch (turning it off and back to being latched on again) will progress the MMU-X3R to the next output mode.

This can be repeated as many times as needed to find the mode you want. Half presses on the switch immediately allow momentary use of the active output mode, but if another full press is carried out within a few seconds of it being latched on, it will change mode again.

A really nice feature of the MMU-X3R is the ability to choose from 5 sets of output modes or 'configurations'.

1. Max
2. Max – Low
3. Max – Strobe
4. Low – High – Max – Strobe
5. Low – High – Max – SOS – Strobe – Beacon (high) – Beacon (low)

To set the configuration, you need to have the MMU-X3R plugged into the charger and charging. While charging turn the MMU-X3R on by fully pressing the switch. It will then flash the same number of times as the configuration number. To move to the next configuration (just like changing modes), give the switch a quick double click. Again the configuration number will be indicated by the number of flashes.

Once you have the configuration you want, to memorise it, either switch off the light or unplug the charger.



Batteries and output:

The MMU-X3R uses its own proprietary 26650 cells with dual contacts each end. You cannot use any other 26650.

To measure actual output, I built an integrating sphere. See here for more detail. The sensor registers visible light only (so Infra-Red and Ultra-Violet will not be measured).

Please note, all quoted lumen figures are from a DIY integrating sphere, and according to ANSI standards. Although every effort is made to give as accurate a result as possible, they should be taken as an estimate only. The results can be used to compare outputs in this review and others I have published.

FOURSEVENS MMU-X3RI.S. measured ANSI output LumensPWM frequency or Strobe frequency (Hz)
Maximum19620
High7940
Low1060
Strobe9599
Beacon High1986Flash every 12s
Beacon Low106Flash every 12s

I have not been able to measure any drain, however with the dual pole at each end of the cell and triple contacts in the tailcap, there might be some drain.


With the MMU-X3R set on Max and a cooling fan in place, this runtime trace was recorded. I have intentionally gone beyond the ANSI runtime cut off to see if the MMU-X3R would leave you in the dark, but for a rechargeable light that you won't have a spare cell for, you can see that, importantly, in won't. The output tails off but does not shut off.

ANSI cut off would be at 1h34m for Maximum.

MMU-X3R%20Runtime%20Max.jpg



You might notice the output has quite a bit of variation in the first part of the trace. Zooming in a bit it looks like this.

MMU-X3R%20Runtime%20Max%20Zoom%201.jpg



And going in closer, like this. What we are seeing here is the MMU-X3R's thermal regulation stepping in to protect the light from damage by lowering the output as needed, but also taking it back up again when it can.

Considering the compact size of the MMU-X3R, its triple XM-L2 LEDs and the 1962lm output it is hardly surprising there is just too much heat being produced to allow it to run consistently at full output, even with a cooling fan. What this shows is that the MMU-X3R can be run hard and it will look after itself as well as giving you absolutely as much as it can, when it can.

MMU-X3R%20Runtime%20Max%20Zoom%202.jpg




Troubleshooting

This is a new section I am adding to mention any minor niggles I came across during testing, in case the information helps anyone else.

When I first took the MMU-X3R out of the box I didn’t turn it on, but instead immediately put it on charge.

This first time on charge, the red light was showing and the body became warm for some of the charging time. The red light went out so I assumed it was ready to use.

The MMU-X3R would not turn on. It would also not appear to take any further charge.

After re-reading the instructions, and in particular the part about setting the configuration, I plugged in the charger and then, with it plugged in, turned on the MMU-X3R. The configuration flashes were then show.

Following this 'activation' the MMU-X3R has functioned exactly as expected, however the Max mode was not much brighter than high, so I put it back on charge.

Now the charge indicator light started on red and then went green after further charging. Max output was achieved!!

As per the description of this section, this information is provided in case anyone else finds a similar 'issue' that might be fixed in the same way.



The MMU-X3R in use

The pocket powerhouse that is the MMU-X3R is hard to categorise. Being so compact, it is a great size to reach for and easy to carry, yet its lowest output is over 100 lumens. This 106lm is more than enough for most day to day needs. Going up only one level takes you to nearly 800 lumens, and suddenly this is far too much indoors, and the maximum, being just shy of 2000 lumens, needs plenty of space to be unleashed in.

So where does the MMU-X3R fit in? Certainly it fulfils the pocket-rocket role and allows you to carry a lot of lumens very discretely. I see it more in a supporting role to your EDC light, something to bring out when you need a big hitting high power blast, or just want to show off!

Its portability and built-in USB charging means you can now easily carry, and maintain, the sort of power that normally gets left at home due to being too big and heavy.

Having been carrying and using the MMU-3XR for some time now, in my day to day needs it is just too much. Being a nice comfortable size to hold it is a little frustrating there are not a couple of lower levels.

Of course we must not forget this comes as a complete kit. Even if you have never used a li-ion powered light, the MMU-X3R has everything you need to get started.

It's an exciting light, perhaps not the most practical, but certainly fun and impressive, and I keep reaching for it.



Review Summary
Things I likeWhat doesn't work so well
Compact 2000lm pocket rocket100lm lowest output
Built-in USB chargingMode changing can be a bit fickle
User selectable configurationOnly works with proprietary 26650
Fantastic power to weight ratio
Smooth switching action
Complete kit – nothing else needed

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bladesmith3

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Re: 'SHOT Show Special' Review: FOURSEVENS MMU-X3R (Proprietary 26650)

thanks for the review. the nonstandard only battery is a deal breaker for me. I love the light but I hate not being able to use all of my 26650 batteries.
 

richbuff

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Re: 'SHOT Show Special' Review: FOURSEVENS MMU-X3R (Proprietary 26650)

Thanks for the informative review. This item is on my radar, because it seems to be a natural progression from the beloved MMU-X3.

I recall that the 2000 lumen level is specified to be a one-minute Burst mode, and then 1000 lumens after that. Your graph shows about two minutes for the initial 2000 lumens to go down to 1800 lumens. So, the battery needs to be recharged after every two minutes of use, to stay in the 2000 to 1800 lumen range, correct?
 

subwoofer

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Re: 'SHOT Show Special' Review: FOURSEVENS MMU-X3R (Proprietary 26650)

Thanks for the informative review. This item is on my radar, because it seems to be a natural progression from the beloved MMU-X3.

I recall that the 2000 lumen level is specified to be a one-minute Burst mode, and then 1000 lumens after that. Your graph shows about two minutes for the initial 2000 lumens to go down to 1800 lumens. So, the battery needs to be recharged after every two minutes of use, to stay in the 2000 to 1800 lumen range, correct?

In Max mode, the MMU-X3R is giving all it can and this is a heavy load on the cell. The drop in output will be partly the cell's charge level and partly due to heat build up. The point it reaches 1800lm in this graph is also where the thermal regulation first kicks in. So at this point the internal temperatures have reached their working limit. The runtime graph does not allow for any cell recovery or cooling. Given some recovery I expect it to give over 1800lm, but not for long.

Remember this is a very compact light and you won't 'see' the difference between 2000lm and 1800lm, but in direct reply to your question, yes, you will need to keep it topped up if you want all 2000lm.
 

ftl1951

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Thank you for a very informative review. Your data and photos are outstanding. Beam shot very telling on performance. I really have enjoyed reading through your other reviews on this forum.
 

zs&tas

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Thanks for the review, lots of info there. I love my old x3, nice shape weight beam the lot. With the mode options I really wish they would have stuck a moonlight in there though. Thats all I miss on my older model.

With all these shot show specials is there a mmx 360 review coming ??
 

ven

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Thank you for your awesome in deth review:thumbsup: the older x3vn is one of my fav lights,with usb now and extra modes(not bothered about disco) but just wish the modes were better spaced. Like lower low,sub 25lm would be ideal imo for close up work.

Other than that,form factor its still up there for me,a light that is just a great size,will slip in pockets and has a nice ano solid feel............above many of my other well know brand lights.

Its a move in the right direction with the usb imo for flexibility,but feel a sideways one or even a step back with other mode levels/step down...........

I am yet to find anything better that feels so natural/solid in the hand(have similar size lights but without the solid feel).

Cheers ven
 

johngilmour

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Ah , wonderful light , much more useful than my old Surefire M6 with 1000 lumen upgrade bulb , and a much improved beam pattern. Surprisingly good beam pattern for a 3 le light. I remember the old Surfire aviator with multiple LED has a horrible beam pattern. This is probably one of the mor useful outdoor lights for searching. Once in a while I lose my turtles in the yard after dark...this makes my mobile Easter egg hunt that much faster to complete.

this in combo with my Olight s10r baton is a useful tool. Add in a Draco and I'm set for just about any lighting need no matter what light level or run time.

i also tend to skateboard in traffic in cities, I ran the Boston night skate and used to carry a 1000 lumen spot light with me in case I had to ensure a driver would not enter an intersection to go right on red with so many people following me .

now I plan to use this for night slalom to recharge my glow in the dark paint on my slalom cones.
 

RedLED

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Re: 'SHOT Show Special' Review: FOURSEVENS MMU-X3R (Proprietary 26650)

Thanks for the informative review. This item is on my radar, because it seems to be a natural progression from the beloved MMU-X3.

I recall that the 2000 lumen level is specified to be a one-minute Burst mode, and then 1000 lumens after that. Your graph shows about two minutes for the initial 2000 lumens to go down to 1800 lumens. So, the battery needs to be recharged after every two minutes of use, to stay in the 2000 to 1800 lumen range, correct?

That battery system is illogical I love bright lights but, really charging evert two minutes. No way
 

RedLED

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Nice write up here. I like the light except I hate rechargeable batteries.

All of us have so many things that need recharging that I find a big turn off. I am tired of charging things and in my photo studio, we have so many rechargeable I must have hundreds of cords, and to have to travel with all that junk, I will pass on what otherwise is a very nice light.

Will this make it to production, or has it?
 

carl

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los angeles
Thank you for the review!

I would like to see a more basic version of the MMU with no proprietary battery (and consequently no charge port), hard anodized tailcap threads for lockout capability, and 4-5 light levels starting with a lower low mode - maybe 10 lumens rather than 100 lumens.

For example: 10, 80, 600, 2000 lumens. No blinky modes.

I realize they didn't put in a moonlight mode (or at least something in the 10 lumen range for low) since this is a duty light but with just a few mixing and matching of parts they already have available in their parts bin, why not make a special run just for CPF !

And XPL-HI for more throw!
 
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edd_.e

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Did 47's release anything brighter since or are rumoured to? Seems like a great all-round light, but the high power re-charge is kind of unpractical, would be great to see an improvement 2 years on
 
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