Solarforce L900 vs. Solarforce T700 vs. TrustFire SSC P7-C

ivanchek

Newly Enlightened
Joined
May 10, 2008
Messages
181
Thanks mate. As always a big help. I think ill stick with the T700. Its much cheaper, and the 3x18650 option probably makes it quite brighter. Now i just need to get some money together.
 

DigitalGreaseMonkey

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Sep 7, 2008
Messages
122
Thanks mate. As always a big help. I think ill stick with the T700. Its much cheaper, and the 3x18650 option probably makes it quite brighter. Now i just need to get some money together.

Delighted to help a mate down under!

As far as the 3 cells go, my understanding from reading the forums, as well as my practical testing here, tells me that it is not the brightness, but the run time that is affected.

I have a two cell Trustfire light that I ran against the two other three cell lights. They all seemed to put out the same amount of light. My understanding is that the driver circuit is optimized to work in certain voltage ranges so that the chips get the proper voltage.

These LEDs actually have a very rigid maximum voltage and current that they can tolerate. Pushing extra voltage just gets you smoke. :) Two of the lights tested were P7 based, one with 3 the other with 2 cells. They certainly looked like twins as far as horsepower goes. There is no doubt though that there is thirty three percent more juice with the additional cell. Other folks have said that it is the run time where you benefit, and I am gullible enough to believe them. (the logic seems sound as well).

One of the reasons I wanted a three cell light was that the stress on the batteries is less, so theoretically they should last longer. Each cell has thirty three percent less duty for a given light output. (less abuse)

So, what situation do you plan to use your new light in when you get one?

Best regards,
DGM
 

ivanchek

Newly Enlightened
Joined
May 10, 2008
Messages
181
So, what situation do you plan to use your new light in when you get one?

I don't actually need a torch like this for my work, but as i've found out, its always good to have the extra firepower. As they say, better to have it and not need it to than to need it and not have it.

I'll share a situation where a torch like this could've come in real handy. About two years ago, my neighbour (an elderly lady) called my brother at what would've been around 10.30pm to tell us that she thought she heard what sounded like breaking glass in here house. She lives on property, and her house is actually some distance from mine. At first, we suspected she might've just heard something else that may have sounded similar, but we decided to go check it out anyway.

When we got there, nothing seemed suspicious, so we did the routine round the house and property check with cheap $2 plastic torches lighting the way. Everything seemed to be clear, so we were about to go inside and tell her everythings fine. We reached the stairs and, sure enough, there he was, sitting in the doorside chair next to a broken window.

It scares me to think neither of us spotted him in the first place. In that time we were checking the property, he could've got away, or worse, decided to attack one of us from behind. You can never be to sure of what people like that are capable of or would do, or what they are carrying; a knife, or even possibly a gun.

Looking back on the situation, i dont think i would take any chances like this again. I know it sounds like a marketing ploy, but a torch like the T700 would have allowed either of us to initially spot the guy from a distance. And if he did decide to try to attack, a strobe function or even the pure brightness might've just been that edge needed to regain conrol of the situation.

Before this event, i never would've thought a torch could be used as a self-defence weapon. But actually experiencing a situation like this makes you realise that the right torch could possilby save your life.
 

DigitalGreaseMonkey

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Sep 7, 2008
Messages
122
Looking back on the situation, i don't think i would take any chances like this again. I know it sounds like a marketing ploy, but a torch like the T700 would have allowed either of us to initially spot the guy from a distance. And if he did decide to try to attack, a strobe function or even the pure brightness might've just been that edge needed to regain control of the situation.

Before this event, i never would've thought a torch could be used as a self-defense weapon. But actually experiencing a situation like this makes you realize that the right torch could possibly save your life.

You are absolutely correct. A solid light source is a very under appreciated tool to the average person!

Your situation is similar to what my life was like till my new and illustrious career as a mighty Security Guard. :) I was a computer technician, always crawling under tables and peering into dusty server cabinets. Every single day, and even today with my big fancy lights, I carried a little Inova T1 in my pocket. Just rattling around with my pocket change. It never failed me, and with its two lithium primary CR123 batteries, it was always ready to run. No worries about charging batteries every couple of days. Those lithium cells seriously last a VERY long time in storage, yes even the cheap ones. I have some that I purchased 6 years ago, and they still work very nicely. Now, there are brighter lights around in the same form factor, but I can not recommend one because I have only used the T1.

Because you are not in a "daily use" mode such as patrol duty, I would strongly suggest a very straight forward approach involving disposable lithium cells. They can sit in the flashlight, in a drawer or pocket, for years and still be nearly full capacity when you need it. (Just get a solid, dependable one like the T1).

My T1 has never ever turned on by accident in my pocket, has never been unable to throw light when I needed it. When the batteries get low, it just becomes dimmer, but still incredibly useful at that level.

The T1 is not a thrower, it is a pure flood light, but wonderful at close distances, say within 30 or 40 feet if you have some dazzle from poorly placed house lights interfering with your vision. With dark adapted eyes, it could be useful up to roughly 100 feet or more, depending upon your eyes and how dark the area is. Total darkness, oddly enough, enhances the effective range of the light, because your eyes open up more.

The T700 can use 4 CR123. It is a very bright light in that way, but the brightness and run times were less than using three 18650 in my T700.

What ever light you get, be sure to also get some Deoxit from Caig (http://store.caig.com/s.nl/it.A/id.1701/.f?sc=2&category=188). In all my years as a technician and techno-geek, this is the absolute best contact cleaner I have used. It made a big difference on all my brand new lights!

So, think carefully about whether you want to get on the battery charging merry-go-round when you don't have a daily duty shift to drive it.

Best regards,
DGM
 

ivanchek

Newly Enlightened
Joined
May 10, 2008
Messages
181
Sorry for such a late reply, but I have to share this computer with my family, and if someone else has an assignment to do, that has priority.

In your last post, you mentioned the T1 might be a good torch purchase for me for what I need it for. Not long ago, I bought a Nuwai ALX-553N. Supposed to be 120 lumens with a 5 watt luxeon led. Although the T1 sounds like a great torch, the Nuwai (which is supposed to be brighter) is not nearly bright enough to light my neighbour’s entire property. This is why I am so interested in a torch like the T700; it provides long throw and, from what I’ve read, good spill to light a great area.

Another torch I am interested in is the new Ra Clicky, which is supposed to come out in a month or so. The way I figure it, if ones gonna cover all bases, they need a somewhat small torch which is reasonably bright and has fantastic runtimes (Clicky), and something with a bit more grunt (T700). This way, if I know I’m not going to need the extra lumens, i can just carry the Clicky (and spare some bulk), or, if I know I’m going to need to light a large area, I can just take the T700 (or both, with the Clicky in my pocket out of the way). This is just a premeditated plan, with the price of the new Clicky likely to be greater than the old bank account, in which case I would readily consider the T1.

Another question I do have is about the li-ion batteries. Will they slowly drain their charge if they are not used? Will normal batteries do this? And can you leave li-ion batteries in a torch if its not gonna be used for some time? Never having the need to use these, I am not quite sure on how one should treat them.
 

DigitalGreaseMonkey

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Sep 7, 2008
Messages
122
Another question I do have is about the li-ion batteries. Will they slowly drain their charge if they are not used? Will normal batteries do this? And can you leave li-ion batteries in a torch if its not gonna be used for some time? Never having the need to use these, I am not quite sure on how one should treat them.

Your two light plan sounds like a solid one. I don't have any feedback on the other lights, never tried them. However, I like the idea of a 100 - 200 lumen pocket light and the T700 as a great team.

I will do a test this week with the T700 and CR123 batteries, my first experience with them was without using contact cleaner and probably influenced the results. Even without cleaning the contacts, the T700 is still a mighty bright light!

The T700 has a lock-out feature that many lights have, just a partial twist of the tail cap and there is no electrical path (or one of extremely high resistance, I never measured it). So, the combination of keeping the switch off and a partial twist should protect you from any accidental discharge.

In my experience, even the cheapo CR123 batteries last an amazingly long time in storage. My five year old Toshiba cells still work very well, and I have no idea how old they were when I got them. The stated discharge rate is something like 1% per year. This means that after 10 years, you still have 90% of the power left. Supposedly. I paid only $1.00 each for mine. (Both times I purchased batteries, five or six years apart!).

Your run times on CR123 will be much less, but still enough to get the job done. An interesting feature of the T700 is that you have a built in battery meter of sorts. As the light begins to dim, you can tell what percentage you are running at by stepping down the power level to the lowest setting, then stepping up (wait half a second between button presses to ensure an actual step). You observe the light intensity increase and count the steps with lowest being "one". After using my T700 for three nights of duty shifts, the light stopped getting brighter at level five, I think. Still very bright, just not as GUTSY as when the batteries were fresh. (no contact cleaner used at that time).

So, for the casual user, I absolutely recommend the disposable primaries. The T700 is also a shorter tube configuration with CR123. That might matter to some.

Best regards,
DGM
 

DigitalGreaseMonkey

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Sep 7, 2008
Messages
122
Another Update - More Conclusions:

I have done my best to do an impartial test. I used the T700 for a week and a half, then the L900 for about the same time.

Tonight I had an opportunity to really put the two lights to a test. As i was making my rounds, I spotted a puddle on the floor, fed by slow steady dripping from the ceiling. There were rows of bright fluorescent lights hanging from the ceiling and, of course, one light fairly near the location of the dripping. It was a 15 foot tall ceiling and the L900 lit the scene very well. I did my investigating and my reporting, then came back to check on the progress of the leak. I used the L900, and as I was turning away, I had the idea of using the T700, to see how that was. I was surprised at how much clearer I could see. We are only talking a distance of 15 feet, but the dazzle from the hanging lights was a significant obstacle. The combination of the more neutral white tint, tighter hot spot and the quality of light from smooth reflectors all added up to a more useful light for this purpose.

- The L900 is a very satisfying light, very soft and smooth. The tint is decidedly warm compared with the very neutral white of the T700. Some people prefer warm tint. It manages to throw relatively well for a P7 light, but can not be considered a thrower in the classic sense.

- The T700, with its more neutral white (no hint of blue, even when compared side by side with the L900), penetrates ground clutter and "dazzle" better. It also throws very well.

At the risk of starting a "religious war" I have to say that I really prefer a "three cree" solution over a single P7 (which has four emitters in one tight package). I have two P7 lights from two different vendors, and they are nearly identical in output with some difference in beam shape and hot spot.

With the two P7 lights and the single "three cree" light all side by side, just inches away from a white wall, they all seem to put out the same quantity of energy. At least, within the limits of human vision. Not a super accurate test, but probably the only one that is worth while when judging a flashlight. :)

Oh, by the way, all three lights are stunningly bright, it is a matter of choosing your poison.

Best regards,
DGM
 
Last edited:

DigitalGreaseMonkey

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Sep 7, 2008
Messages
122
Update on the Trustfire light and heat issues:

I had been ignoring this little light because of concerns regarding heating. I tested it again to clearly identify the characteristics of a stock light, before modifying it.

At three minutes of run time, it was apparent that the area where the reflector meets the glass at the very front of the light is where the heat first shows up. Not an ideal situation for heat transfer.

I powered off the light and let it cool for a while. I opened it up and stuffed the area around the reflector with tin foil. This is an art, not a science, I had read some vague hints about doing this in the forum, but each light is different, so we have to figure it out for ourselves.

After stuffing with tin foil, I did the three minute test again, and this time the entire head heated up at the same time, and much more quickly. The heat also spread down the handle more quickly.

So, heat transfer can be improved greatly, that is the good AND the bad news. :)

Tried the same trick with the L900, but the improvement was minor. Probably an error in technique, since the design is VERY different from the Trustfire light. I will take my time figuring out something there.

Best regards,
DGM
 

DigitalGreaseMonkey

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Sep 7, 2008
Messages
122
Thanks for the ongoing observations DGM, they're appreciated!

No problem! I figured there had to be at least one person interested in these lights, and wrestling with the same issues.

I have settled into a routine that works for me. I don't see this changing any time soon:

I carry the L900 in hand on all of my rounds. The smooth, artifact free beam is best for "sweeping". The T700 is on my belt at all times, when I really need to penetrate interference or throw significant distances, this light comes out. It also serves as my multi-mode long run time machine if needed.

The L900, when you don't have the T700 competing with it side by side, actually throws very well for a P7 light. A huge ball of light illuminating a big chunk of distance. It only pales when you fire the T700 at the same target, the hot spot is half the diameter but much brighter. As beam shots posted elsewhere have shown, the T700 has a larger hot spot than most other throwers aside from HID lights or other multi emitter lights.

I suppose this cements my position solidly as a flashaholic. I carry three lights at all times now when at work. (The T1 is always in my pocket, keeping my keys company.)

These lights have eliminated my "tour anxiety". All those nasty shadows are banished.

If anything else develops, I will update.

Best regards,
DGM
 

ivanchek

Newly Enlightened
Joined
May 10, 2008
Messages
181
hey dgm. haven't been able to reply for a while, and when i was able to on the weekend, cpf was offline. anyway, thanks again for your insight. its people like you that make cpf work so well for people like me, sharing your thoughts and opinions so unexperienced people like myself can make a suitable torch purchase.

anyway, i've come up with another question. http://www.light-reviews.com/solarforce_t700/ . the runtime graph in this review shows a steep decline of output when the T700 is on level 8. have you eperienced this sudden decline when doing the rounds?

thanks again.
 

DigitalGreaseMonkey

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Sep 7, 2008
Messages
122
hey dgm. haven't been able to reply for a while, and when i was able to on the weekend, cpf was offline. anyway, thanks again for your insight. its people like you that make cpf work so well for people like me, sharing your thoughts and opinions so unexperienced people like myself can make a suitable torch purchase.

anyway, i've come up with another question. http://www.light-reviews.com/solarforce_t700/ . the runtime graph in this review shows a steep decline of output when the T700 is on level 8. have you eperienced this sudden decline when doing the rounds?

I agree about the helpful people sharing experience. I took a chance on the T700 because of Jirik's beam shot comparisons.

I found that in my use, I have not noticed any sudden reductions in brightness. Some of this may have to do with the new quality of the batteries combined with excellent contact cleaner to reduce contact resistance. Some of it may be due to the "elastic" nature of the human visual system. In any event, I do not find myself disappointed at the end of the tour. I am also not running the light constantly, although when I did during my testing phase, I did not experience any sudden drops.

These lights that put out in the 600 lumen and up range are just so much more effective than traditional flashlights that it is mind boggling. Very easy to lose perspective and want more more more! :)

Even the little Trustfire light is quite impressive! I was pretty harsh in my first opinions about it, but I have really grown to like it for it's brutal strength and simplicity. After packing the head with tin foil, the heat transfer is very quick now. In hind sight, I would have to say it is perhaps the best value per dollar. It does not throw as well as the other two lights, but it is a very solid general purpose single mode light. (If you are going to get into using 18650 cells.)

Using the T700 with CR123 disposables is not a bad plan for a light that will not see daily use. Just twist the tail cap a little to lock out the light and it can sit in a drawer for years if need be.

I don't really know how long these lights will last. Electronic components can often die "on the shelf" doing nothing. We take our chances. The only LED lights that I have long experience with (roughly 6 years) is Inova. I have two old X5 and two T1. They all still work like new. One of the X5 was in my pocket 365 days a year for 3 years. It sits beside my favorite chair and gets used once or twice a week. (the batteries are now 5 years old). The T1 replaced the X5 for 365 use. Hugely brighter but it eats batteries faster of course. Even on low batteries it is brighter than the X5 on fresh cells.

A little rambling, but inexperienced folks may find it helpful.

Best regards,
DGM
 

DigitalGreaseMonkey

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Sep 7, 2008
Messages
122
The brightness declines from 100% to 70% in 2-3 hours (depends on batteries). It is not so steep drop.

Nice run time graph, Jirik. That tracks pretty well with my experience, though I have not gone beyond 30 minutes at one time. Very good to know this.

A difference of 20 or 30 percent of light output looks much bigger on the graph than in real life. There's that human eye response issue again. :)

Best regards,
DGM
 

ivanchek

Newly Enlightened
Joined
May 10, 2008
Messages
181
thanks guys. now i better pull my finger out and get me one of these before they all disapear.
 

DigitalGreaseMonkey

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Sep 7, 2008
Messages
122
UPDATE (and a response to a PM):

After living with these lights for some time, I thought I would take a fresh look at the current state of flashlight technology and answer a Private Message that asked some good questions. I received permission from the sender to post the message with his user information in place, rather than make it an anonymous one.

webley445
user_offline.gif

Flashaholic*
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: St. Pete, Fl.
Posts: 1,589


icon1.gif
SF T700
Just read your Sept thread about the T700.

Loved it!!
I too work security, at a hospital, and many similar conditions outdoors as you encounter.
It was really great seeing a review from someone with the same needs as I.

I am giving real serious consideration to this light now. I have a Fenix P3D Q5 and a Surefire G2 with a Dereelight Q5 drop in on direct drive as my carry lights and they fill my needs fine, but I would like a good thrower thats really bright for long reaches and also for stunning and intimidating the occasional trespassers we encounter.

Would love to hear about how the light has been working out for you since your last posting about it.

once again really appreciate your posting as it falls directly into my needs to and concerns.

Take care and stay safe.
John G.
__________________
Professional Flashlight Cop
Thanks for the kind words, John. You bring up some issues worthy of discussion:

First, I should point out that the T700 does appear to be discontinued and is no longer in stock at Lighthound, no longer listed at Solarforces store, and back-ordered at DX. There may be some Ebay places offering them, but that brings a whole different level of insecurity to the process.

DX offers some other 3, 4 and 5 cree lights at much lower price points, but unknown quality, typically using the older series cree emitters. I was going to post links to them, but that seems to be forbidden.

I think there is one light on DX other than the T700 that offers three Q5 emitters, but is driven by two 18650 and does not have the nifty Solarforce interface.

So, it seems that choices at the moment are somewhat limited. The Lumapower MVP appears to be a more solidly built light, runs on two 18650 cells with excellent regulation, but lower run time and probably harder on the batteries.

Second: You bring up the issue of "stunning and intimidation". I can't blame you for being influenced by the marketing claims from some companies, but just forget the whole stunning thing. Particularly because you are in an environment with a fair quantity of ambient light, punctuated by ominous shadows. All flashlights perform less impressively in such environments. It is simply the physics involved combined with the biology. Even if you had a totally dark environment, the stun value is nearly useless.

Here's a perfect illustration: As a wee lad, perhaps 10 years of age, my friends and I loved to play war games and such. We would head out into a field with strategically placed clumps of bushes and trees. Usually armed with squirt guns, our games would go on into the darkness, lit by star light or moon light. One night I got clever and brought my fathers camera flash. It was the old kind that used those single use flash bulbs. The surprise worked only for a moment. After the inevitable shouts of "cheating" they simply barged at me with an arm over their eyes watching the ground before them and crashing through bushes to get at me. I was quite disappointed. Those flash bulbs were designed for use with REALLY slow film. They were really bright.

Now, on to the question of L900 vs. T700. I have come to appreciate the L900 more each day. I like the simplicity, no fancy modes, just momentary or full on. It lights up huge swaths of warehouse and empty office cubicle space. A very refined beam with good throw, no messy artifacts to trigger false alert cues. Does the T700 throw longer and penetrate interference dazzle better? Absolutely. The more concentrated hot spot works better in those situations.

Keep in mind though, that this whole issue is a sliding scale with multiple variables. How much ambient light, how much dazzle, at what distance are we judging?

With all due respect to the Dereelight fans, a laser has very limited use for a security professional. My personal opinion is also that single emitter solutions are just not bright enough for my needs. Multi emitter LED lights are getting to the point now where they are really useful (the p7 qualifies due to the multiple chips in one package). My feeling is that to get a worth-while improvement over these two lights would take another tripling of power. 9 Q5's or 3 P7's with appropriate reflectors would do the trick. It would also render HID's pretty much irrelevant to most hand held situations.

This brings us to the custom lights situation. I would love to get one of those monsters like the Mammoth! I just can't swing the cash. Sooner or later, some Chinese manufacturer will launch something that has proper heat management and three times the output of these lights at an affordable price.

I would be using an HID currently if it did not suffer from severe operational issues. (for my needs) For the time being I am actually very happy with these lights. They are so far beyond most normal flashlights that it boggles peoples minds.

Last weekend I was sweeping through a darkened warehouse with the L900 when I heard a distant voice calling out. One of the supervisors had come in to do some work and had been startled by my light. At first he thought he had fallen into an episode of the X-files. We started talking and I fired off the light at a distant wall (about 200 ft). He said, "That is an AWESOME light! Is that a Maglite?"

So, I hope this helps a little. Don't expect miracles around the Hospital. My guess is that you do have lots of dazzle and just enough ambient light to diminish the effectiveness of most flashlights. For your needs, perhaps an HID would work for your outside rounds. Jut turn it on and leave it on till you are done. I still prefer solid state, and at moderate distances these two lights really deliver. Heck, at short distances the little Trustfire P7 light would do the trick for you. Just figure on triple the output of your current light to get a satisfying increase in performance. That seems to be the physics and the physiology of the game.

Best regards,
DGM
 

webley445

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Nov 16, 2001
Messages
1,353
Location
St. Pete, Fl.
Re: UPDATE (and a response to a PM):

Ok, little clarification here.

been working my current job for little over three years. Been in security for 5 years prior to that.
Let me tell you from experience, when you roll up on someone who is not where they are supposed to be, and you put a bright light on them, its not so much that you physically "stun" them.
Its that much more element of surprise and intimidation that makes them scamper away or stop in their tracks.
Many times these idiots will turn and walk away and act like they don't even see you while you're lighting up a path that moments ago was dark in front of them.

I been doing this long enough that I don't expect someone to cringe and back away just because I shine a bright flashlight in their face.
Its nice to have some throw so that you can sweep an area before exiting your vehicle.
I had a Mag85 setup but got rid of it. Bright enough but a pain recharging 9 AA's and form factor not appealing to me. I did like the looks I got from people trying to figure out why my Mag was so much brighter than their's.
 

DigitalGreaseMonkey

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Sep 7, 2008
Messages
122
Re: UPDATE (and a response to a PM):

Ok, little clarification here.

been working my current job for little over three years. Been in security for 5 years prior to that.
Let me tell you from experience, when you roll up on someone who is not where they are supposed to be, and you put a bright light on them, its not so much that you physically "stun" them.
Its that much more element of surprise and intimidation that makes them scamper away or stop in their tracks.
Many times these idiots will turn and walk away and act like they don't even see you while you're lighting up a path that moments ago was dark in front of them.

I been doing this long enough that I don't expect someone to cringe and back away just because I shine a bright flashlight in their face.
Its nice to have some throw so that you can sweep an area before exiting your vehicle.
I had a Mag85 setup but got rid of it. Bright enough but a pain recharging 9 AA's and form factor not appealing to me. I did like the looks I got from people trying to figure out why my Mag was so much brighter than their's.

I misunderstood your intent, fair enough.

I have been considering the possibility of hooking up with a local machine shop and crafting my own multi emitter throw light. It would, of course deal with the heat issue. Unfortunately in order to keep things compact, it would probably involve a fan. It would probably be quite expensive, but judging from the activities on this forum, there might be a small market for such a beast. Just a pipe dream at the moment. Probably cheaper to just locate one of the great mod guys here and let them do it. Just a matter of saving up the money....

Best regards,
DGM
 

DigitalGreaseMonkey

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Sep 7, 2008
Messages
122
Another quick update:

Tonight, for some reason, the parking lot lights failed to come on. It was a forceful reminder of how much more effective these lights are when there is no interference from poorly shielded light dazzle. The L900 really proved itself in that environment. A nice wide flood with significant throw for a P7. Very nice beam with a very smooth, and at a distance, very large hot spot. Without interference, useful throw out beyond 600 ft (estimate). There were still windows lit from within the building and lights from parking lots across the street. Final conclusions shortly.

Best regards,
DGM
 
Last edited:
Top