Sunwayman T20C (1x18650, 2xR/CR123A, XP-G R5) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS +

selfbuilt

selfbuilt

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Warning: pic heavy, as usual. :whistle:

UPDATE APRIL 15, 2011: My review is based on an early engineering sample of the T20C, which contained the Cree XP-G R5 emitter. Sunwayman has decided to go with a XM-L T6 emitter in the shipping T20C.


T20C001.jpg


Manufacturer specifications are unknown at this time

What you are looking at is an engineering sample of a new Sunwayman light, the T20C. It has some distinctive features, which I will describe below.

To give you a general idea up-front, the light uses a Cree XP-G R5 emitter and takes 2xCR123A, 2xRCR and 1x18650. It is a multi-mode light, with 3 constant output levels and one “hidden” strobe. But the switch is unique – it is silent (i.e. no click) and can do both momentary and constant on.

Also, the final appearance of the light may change for the shipping version. Sunwayman informs me there may be modifications at the mass production stage.

T20C002.jpg


First off, I have no idea what packaging will be like, but I assume it will be fairly typical to other Sunwayman lights (i.e. you usually get at least a wrist strap, body clip, spare o-rings and boot cover, manual, and warranty card). Also no idea as to price yet. :shrug:

T20C028.jpg
T20C026.jpg

From left to right: CR123A, Redilast protected 18650, Sunwayman T20C, M20C, JetBeam Jet-IIIM, Olight M20-R2, 4Sevens Maelstrom G5, Nitecore IFE2.

TK15027.jpg

From left to right: AW protected 18650, Fenix TK15, TK12, 4Sevens Maelstrom G5, Sunwayman T20C, Nitecore IFE2, Eagletac P20C2-II.

T20C: Weight: 118.3g (no battery), Length 136.8mm x Width 32.0mm (bezel)
TK12: Weight 123.3g (no battery), Length 138.0mm x Width 34.1mm (bezel max)

T20C008.jpg

T20C017.jpg

T20C015.jpg

T20C013.jpg


Again, the final build of the light may change.

What is most distinctive about the light is the switch. At first, I thought it was an electronic switch, since it was noiseless (i.e. no click). But it's not that simple, given given how it functions (i.e. half press for momentary, full press for lock-on).

In reality, it is something of a combination of an electronic switch in the head, with a mini-piston and a mechanical tailcap switch. If you look at the interior tailcap picture above, you will see two semi-circular areas on the perimeter of the switch spring that have a "L-shaped" pattern to them. These two areas rise when you press on the switch button.

So, when you first tighten the tailcap, the outside portion of the switch makes contact with the outer ring of of the body tube. As you press the button, eventually the raised switch areas make contact with the inner part of the body tube (which is actually a spring-mounted interior sleeve). Continue pressing, and sleeve makes additional contact with the head somehow. This is how the light apparently signals the difference between a momentary press, and locked-on. I'm not entirely clear on the circuit specifics, so please check with Sunwayman for more info.

For the current engineering sample, I would say it is a solidly made light. Annodizing is a shiny black instead of the classic Sunwayman natural (Sunwayman confirms the final version will be black). Knurling is reasonable, and the light comes with stainless steel bezel and tailcap rings. The light cannot tailstand. Tailcap threads are anodized for lock out.

Thanks to the spring in the head, flat-top cells work fine. :)

All in all, it is a fairly classic and classy looking build for a light this size.

T20C010.jpg

T20C023.jpg


The T20C apparently features the Cree XP-G R5 Cool White. The reflector is textured to what I would consider a medium orange peel (MOP). Given the overall size of the head, I would expect a fairly typical beam for this class of light.

UPDATE: Again, this review is based on an early engineering sample of the T20C, which contained the Cree XP-G R5 emitter. Sunwayman has decided to go with a XM-L T6 emitter in the shipping T20C. You should therefore expect greater max output and less throw from the XM-L emitter version (given that the build seems otherwise the same).

Which brings us to the requisite white wall hunting ;). All lights are on Hi on 18650 (AW Protected where available), about ~0.75 meter from a white wall (with the camera ~1.25 meters back from the wall). Automatic white balance on the camera, to minimize tint differences.

T20C-Beam001.jpg
T20C2II-R5-OP-Beam001.jpg

IFE2-Beam001.jpg
TK15-Beam001.jpg


T20C-Beam002.jpg
T20C2II-R5-OP-Beam002.jpg

IFE2-Beam002.jpg
TK15-Beam002.jpg


T20C-Beam003.jpg
T20C2II-R5-OP-Beam003.jpg

IFE2-Beam003.jpg
TK15-Beam003.jpg


T20C-Beam004.jpg
T20C2II-R5-OP-Beam004.jpg

IFE2-Beam004.jpg
TK15-Beam004.jpg


As you can see, a fairly typical beam for this size head. There are a few rings in the beam, but they are not distracting. Scroll down to my Summary Tables for more specifics on output and throw.

User Interface

To turn the light on in momentary-mode, depress the switch halfway. Fully depress the switch to lock-on in constant output. When the light is on, fully depress the switch to turn off the light

To change modes (when the light is on), hold the switch fully pressed. Within a second or so, the light will begin to cycle through its output modes in the following repeating sequence: Lo > Med > Hi. Release the switch to select the desired mode.

Light has memory, and retains the last mode selected next time you turn on the light.

Strobe mode is “hidden” – do a quick double-full-press of the switch to enter strobe. Turn off the light to exist. There is no memory for strobe (i.e. always comes back on at your memorize constant output level).

No PWM

I was unable to detect any signs of PWM with my setup. This suggests the light is current-controlled, or it uses a PWM freq beyond my ability to detect. Either way, nothing to worry about visually. :thumbsup:

Strobe

T20C-Strobe.gif


Measured at a very high 23 Hz in my testing. :sick2:

Testing Method:

All my output numbers are relative for my home-made light box setup, a la Quickbeam's flashlightreviews.com method. You can directly compare all my relative output values from different reviews - i.e. an output value of "10" in one graph is the same as "10" in another. All runtimes are done under a cooling fan, except for any extended run Lo/Min modes (i.e. >12 hours) which are done without cooling.

I have recently devised a method for converting my lightbox relative output values (ROV) to estimated Lumens. See my How to convert Selfbuilt's Lighbox values to Lumens thread for more info.

Throw/Output Summary Chart:

Effective November 2010, I have revised my summary tables to match with the current ANSI FL-1 standard for flashlight testing. Please see http://www.sliderule.ca/FL1.htm for a description of the terms used in these tables.

18650-FL1-Summary1-1.gif


18650-FL1-Summary2-1.gif


18650-FL1-Summary3-1.gif


The max output and throw of the T20C are quite reasonable and consistent with its emitter and reflector design.

UPDATE: Again, this review is based on an early engineering sample of the T20C, which contained the Cree XP-G R5 emitter. Sunwayman has decided to go with a XM-L T6 emitter in the shipping T20C. You should therefore expect greater max output and less throw from the XM-L emitter version (given that the build seems otherwise the same). Runtime is hard to know, but I've noticed on other XM-L based lights that they don't typically seem to be any more efficient than XP-G lights, at lower drive currents.

Output/Runtime Comparison:

18650-Hi18650.gif

18650-MedHi18650.gif

18650-MedLo18650.gif


18650-HiRCR.gif


18650-HiCR123A.gif


No surprises here – the overall output and output/runtime efficiency for the T20C are quite in keeping with this class of light.

Potential Issues

Switch feel takes a little getting used to – I find you need to fully press fairly hard to insure the light stayed locked-on, or to access strobe (i.e. double-full-press).

The switch is not absolutely silent (i.e. if you listen carefully, you can faintly hear the piston sliding).

Given the novel electronic switch/piston mechanism, it remains to be seen if additional issues crop up.

Preliminary Observations

The T20C is a solidly-built and solidly-performing member of the 2xCR123A/RCR 1x18650 class of XP-G R5 lights. It is a reasonably compact and tough-looking light (reminiscent of the Fenix TK12, but with a few extra design flourishes).

There are no real circuit surprises here – throw, output, and relative spacing of levels is pretty consistent with most lights in this class. Note however that some of the more recent builds in this class are driven harder on max, and have bigger and deeper reflectors for enhanced throw. I'm glad to see strobe is "hidden" by a double-click, the regular mode sequence is Lo > Med > Hi. :)

What distinguishes the T20C is the novel switch design – I don’t think I’ve seen this sort on tailcap piston before. I presume the main point of this switch is to insure relatively silent operation (important for all you closet ninjas out there ;)). But the mechanical piston may also be designed to enhance long-term longevity (i.e. no cheap plastic clicky switch to break).

Although I can’t comment personally on the need for silent operation, I can see the mechanical piston fitting in well with the other compact and sturdy aspects of the light. After all, clicky switches are often the weakest part of a light. Ultimately, it’s hard to know how well this sort of tailcap piston-drive will perform in comparison, but it has worked reliably in my testing so far.

Given this silent tailcap (and uber-fast strobe), I'm guessing the primary audience for this light is security/law-enforcement (i.e. a duty light). It looks to me like the body tube would fit in a standard 1-inch gun mount. The light certainly has a solid feel.

UPDATE APRIL 15, 2011: This review is based on an early engineering sample of the T20C, which contained the Cree XP-G R5 emitter. Sunwayman has decided to go with a XM-L T6 emitter in the shipping T20C. You should therefore expect greater max output and less throw from the XM-L emitter version (given that the build seems otherwise the same). Runtime is hard to know, but I've noticed on other XM-L based lights that they don't typically seem to be any more efficient than XP-G lights, at lower drive currents.

----

T20C was provided by Sunwayman for review.
 
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selfbuilt

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Written by 276 on Yesterday 07:35 PM GMT

Great review!!!

Kinda wish this was the variable output UI instead.
Budda said:
Originally Posted by Budda
Finally they added some grip (bisggest complain in my M20C review) and a new interface.

Originally Posted by 276
Kinda wish this was the variable output UI instead.
I agree on the grip - the M20C was a bit too slippery, and this knurling is much more functional. I agree on the grip - the M20C was a bit too slippery, and this knurling is much more functional.

Although Sunwayman seems to have moved to the continuously-variable interface on a number of lights, I think this light shows their commitment to maintaining (and updating) the traditional multi-level design. After all, for a LEO duty light, continuously-variable is not really needed or desired - simplicity of use and predictability of output/runtime seem more highly valued. But I agree it would be nice to see a more "grippy" version of the current V-series.
 
selfbuilt

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The main review post has been updated with the final review text.

The thread discussions have been fully restored from the search engine cache data (thank you tandem!).

Please carry on! :)
 
selfbuilt

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SWM announced an XM-L version, how well would a 17670 cell fit/do?
If the diameter stays the same, there will be no problem (just lower runtime compared to 18650). But all my protected 18650 fit fine in my XP-G R5 sample.
 
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Beamhead

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Thanks, I just ordered one and am curious about SWM's statement that the switch is "adjustable"?
 
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damn_hammer

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Please share your impression of the T20C w/XM-L emitter when you get a chance. I'm interested, and will almost certainly be getting one soon. Thanks.
 
selfbuilt

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Just to clarify, it seems Sunwayman has decided to go with a XM-L T6 emitter in the shipping T20C. My early engineering sample was based on the XP-G R5.

You should therefore expect greater max output and less throw from the XM-L emitter (given the build seems otherwise the same). Runtime is impossible to know, but I've noticed on other lights in this battery class that XM-L based lights don't seem to be that much more efficient than XP-G lights, at lower drive currents.
 
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peterharvey73

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Hi Selfbuilt,

Would you know how the T20C with the new XM-L T6 compares with a Jetbeam RRT-2 R5?
1) Who is brighter? A little brighter or a lot brighter?
2) Who throws further? A little further or a lot further?

I have compared an RRT-1 R5 with an RRT-2 R5, and I can tell you the bigger deeper lensed RRT-1 R5 throws alot lot further than the smaller RRT-2 R5.
But how does the new T20C XM-L T6 compare??
And also, how does the T20x XM-L T6 compapre with the M20C R5? The M20C is a bit long in the tooth? Or does the M20C R5 throw further than the T20C T6?

Kind regards, Peter.
 
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juplin

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Nice review :thumbsup:
After the tailcap has been removed, will the inner tube be moved toward the head when the inner tube is pressed with finger?
In other word, is the inner tube movable or fixed?
Thanks!
 
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radu1976

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According to Selfbuilt's review about the RRT-2 R2 version , that throws 15,000 lux . I would assume that the R5 version would throw around 11,000 lux .
An T20 R5 throws 7,000 lux and a T20 XM-L should be in the 5,000-6,000 lux area .
So the JETBEAM will throw much better , 2 times more lux probably . But I am quite positive that the T20C will be brighter and personally , I preffer its regulation over the RRT-2 one .
T20C is a quite compact XM-L thrower but it definetely can't outhrow the FENIX TK21 which is actully 1.5cm longer and it has a 0.8cm larger bezel .
I asked SUNWAYMAN and they confirmed me that the throw will be less on XM-L version comparative to the reviewed R5 .

With the larger and more efficient emitters - considerably more overall output - we have the reverse of the coin : less throw .
Probably the R2 is the best option for those who want throw . Otherwise we should go with much longer and larger flashlight to achieve the same throw with an XM-L .
 
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peterharvey73

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Thanks Radu.

Out of curiosity, given the same identical lenses, why does a brighter, more powerful and more efficient LED have a shorter throw?
I heard that the old R2's have the longest throw, then the newer R5, and now the latest T6 is brightest but has the shortest throw?
Shouldn't the R2, R5 and T6 all throw the same distance, or the newer R5 and T6 throw even further, given that the lenses are identical???
 
selfbuilt

selfbuilt

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After the tailcap has been removed, will the inner tube be moved toward the head when the inner tube is pressed with finger? In other word, is the inner tube movable or fixed?
A good question - the inner battery tube sleeve is movable, not fixed. There seems to be some sort of spring-mount in it, as you can move it with you finger. I hadn't thought to test that before, but it does help explain how the switching works in the tailcap.

Out of curiosity, given the same identical lenses, why does a brighter, more powerful and more efficient LED have a shorter throw?
I heard that the old R2's have the longest throw, then the newer R5, and now the latest T6 is brightest but has the shortest throw?
Shouldn't the R2, R5 and T6 all throw the same distance, or the newer R5 and T6 throw even further, given that the lenses are identical???
Because we are talking about different classes of emitters. The T6 output bin refers only to the XM-L emitter. XP-G emitters are the only ones that come in an R5 output bin. And XR-E, XP-E, and XP-G all come in an R2 output bin.

These different classes of emitters are all quite different from one another. The XM-L has a much larger die than the XP-G emitter, so it is much harder to focus it to a narrow point. This requires a much larger and deeper reflector.

Classically, the XR-E (which maxed out at R2 output bins) has the best throw, due to how the emitter is constructed (also a question of emission angle as well as die size). But XR-Es are also have more rings and distortions in the beam. XP-Gs (which seem to have reached S2 output bins, but R5 are the most common) typically don't focus quite as well.

This is a common source of confusion here - output bin is not the controlling factor for throw, but emitter class.
 
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juplin

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the inner battery tube sleeve is movable, not fixed. There seems to be some sort of spring-mount in it, as you can move it with you finger. I hadn't thought to test that before, but it does help explain how the switching works in the tailcap.
Thanks!
Is it possible that the spring is connected between the frond end of the inner tube sleeve and the negative copper ring of the circuit board (to act as both the conductive path and the buffering mechanism for switching action)?
 
selfbuilt

selfbuilt

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Is it possible that the spring is connected between the frond end of the inner tube sleeve and the negative copper ring of the circuit board (to act as both the conductive path and the buffering mechanism for switching action)?
Certainly possible - that in fact seems most likely to me. since the head doesn't open, you would have to check with Sunwayman for specifics.
 
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peterharvey73

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So Selfbuilt, it is very interesting to learn that we are getting more efficient with less energy loss, and therefore more powerful emitters, however because the LED die emitters are larger in size, it requires a much larger reflector to achieve the same throw distance.

(1) At the end of the day, this Sunwayman T20C with XM-L T6 is brighter @ 438 lumens, but it throws a shorter distance than Sunwayman's own M20C R5? Is that right?
(2) Do you prefer the T20C's all clicky switch only, or do you prefer the M20C's traditional combination of clicky switch combined with a magnetic ring?
(3) I know from your reviews that the Jetbeam RRT-2 R2 out throws a Sunwayman M20C R2, but how does the newer RRT-2 R5 compare with the T20C T6 in brightness and in throw? The T20C with the XM-L T6 is brighter but shorter in throw?

Many thanks for your help Selfbuilt et al; I'm just trying to decide between buying the RRT-2 R5, M20C R5, or the T20C T6...
 
selfbuilt

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So Selfbuilt, it is very interesting to learn that we are getting more efficient with less energy loss, and therefore more powerful emitters, however because the LED die emitters are larger in size, it requires a much larger reflector to achieve the same throw distance.
Well, that's not absolute - the issue of emission angle is also critical, not just die size. But XM-L emitters are quite a bit bigger than XR-E, XP-E or XP-G, so it is clearly going to be a major factor.

(1) At the end of the day, this Sunwayman T20C with XM-L T6 is brighter @ 438 lumens, but it throws a shorter distance than Sunwayman's own M20C R5? Is that right?
Likely yes. I would have to measure the XM-L version to be sure, but in my experience the increased output of moving to XM-L cannot overcome the drop in throw (when keeping the optics the same).

(2) Do you prefer the T20C's all clicky switch only, or do you prefer the M20C's traditional combination of clicky switch combined with a magnetic ring?
There are advantages and disadvantages to all methods. But I personally quite like Sunwayman's magnetic control rings.

(3) I know from your reviews that the Jetbeam RRT-2 R2 out throws a Sunwayman M20C R2, but how does the newer RRT-2 R5 compare with the T20C T6 in brightness and in throw? The T20C with the XM-L T6 is brighter but shorter in throw?
The degree of uncertainty increases as move across lights, models, reflectors, drive levels, etc. I can't really answer this without directly measuring everything. But my experience with lights of this size tell me that the T20C with an XM-L will likely not be a great thrower. Check out my Thrunite Scorpion review for an example of the XM-L in a traditional size reflector.
 
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peterharvey73

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Thanks for your advice above and the quick reply.
However, sorry to bother you again Selfbuilt, but the increase in brightness from the Sunwayman T20C with XM-L @ a whopping 438 lumens seems to be "huge" compared to a Jetbeam RRT-2 XP-G R5 @ 300 lumens and an M20C R5 @ 280 lumens.
However, would the "diminished" throw from the T20C only be "relatively small" compared to the existing throw in the RRT-2 R5 and the M20C R5?

For example, going from M20C R2 @ 240 lumens to M20C R5 @ 280 lumens, and going from RRT-2 R2 @ 240 lumens to RRT-2 R5 @ 300 lumens, how much extra brightness do you achieve, relative to how much fall in throw?
If the gain in brightness is huge, yet the fall in throw is small, then I'll go with the newer emitters.
If the gain in brightness is equal to the fall in throw, then it may be hard to decide.
If the gain in brightness is small, and the loss in throw is large, then I would stay away from the newer emitters altogether...
 
selfbuilt

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Well, we have a good "natural experiment" in the Lumintop TD15/TD15X. Lumintop kept the build the same as they went from the XP-G R5 TD15 to the XM-L TD15X (i.e. same reflector).

The XP-G R5 TD15 has estimated ANSI lumens of 335 in my lightbox, and beam distance of 259m.

The XM-L T6 TD15X has estimated ANSI lumens of 750 in my lightox, and bem distance of 243m.

So, in that case, despite a huge increase in output, throw actually drops. FYI, my outdoor beamshots (linked in those reviews) shows the throw drop to be subjectively worse than the numbers indicate (which are based on lux at 5m).

The Thrunite Scorpion is more in line with your interests, and it has a ANSI estimate lumen count of 460 in my lightbox, and only 167m beam distance.

Those numbers should put it in perspective for you.
 
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peterharvey73

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Thanks Selfbuilt.

Your data shows the newer huge XM-L emitters have a large increase in lumen brightness, but only a small drop in throw.
Your link to the Lumitop TD15 XP-G R5 also shows that the Jetbeam RRT-2 XR-E R2's have est lumens of 210, and beam distance of 216 meters.
While your link to the Thrunite Scorpion also shows that the Sunwayman T20C XP-G R5's have 250 lumens, and beam distance of 164 metres.
Here, the T20C is brighter coz it's a newer R5, but boy Sunwaymen have short throws?

Likewise, I notice from your Lumitop TD15X link data for the Jetbeam M1X and Sunway M60R.
The Olight SR90 which claims 2500 lumens, has an estimated 2500 lumens, and beam distance of 634 meters.
The Jetbeam M1X which claims 750 lumens, has max lumens of 450, and beam distance of 297 meters.
The Sunway M60R which claims 800 lumens, has max lumens of 570, and distance of just 192 meters!
Boy the Sunwaymen have short throws?
The big M60R can't even throw like a little RRT-2?
Like you say - more for flood lighting, than spot lighting.

Thank you very much Selfbuilt for all your help. You are a true expert.
I think I have swung back to the Jetbeams now, esp the TCR2 1 battery [for pocket use], RRT-2 twin batteries [for easy carry], and the big RRT-3 multi-batteries...
I prefer throw.

However, both Jetbeam and Sunwayman are the top two when it comes to delivering a combination of "style" and performance.
The others like Olight and Fenix etc look really bland.
The Olight SR90 is super powerful at 2500 lumens, but it is 30 cm long, and weights 1.5 kg, and uses some 12 CR123 batteries! So not that practical to carry around.
Fenix is very good value for money...
 
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