SupBeam Rechargeable Thrower K50 V2 [XM-L2 U2, 4x18650] Review

candle lamp

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The K50 V2 is a new high-output "rechargeable thrower" flashlight from SupBeam that runs on 4x18650 cells. It seems the light has good features of K40 and X40. So I can say the K50 V2 is the highly upgraded light of the K40.

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The K50 V2 sent to me came in the nice case. with metal hinges and closing flaps. Inside were the light, user manual, warranty card, USB charging cable, AC/DC adapter with USB interface, car charger with USB interface, extra o-rings, tailcap rubber switch boot, lanyard, holster. The case is larger than the K40 that I reviewed.
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Manufacturer Specifications from SupBeam website & user manual:
• LED : Cree XM-L2 LED with lifespan 20yrs of runtime
• Lumens : Max 1610 lumens
• General mode : Level 1 (Min.)~Level 6 (Max.)
• Flashing mode : Strobe
• Dimming mode : Magnetic ring
• Working voltage : 10V - 17V
• Max Runtime : 3,100 hr
• Max beam distance : 760m
• Peak beam intensity : 144,400lux (1 m distance)
• Impact resistant : 1.2m
• Waterproofing grade : IPX8 standards, 2m
• Material : Aircraft grade aluminum body structure
• Premium type III hard anodized anti-abrasive finish
• Reflector : Ultra-clear tempered glass lens with anti-reflective coating
• Lens : Ultra-clear tempered glass lens with anti-reflective coating
• Size : 203.5mm (length) x 90.2mm (bezel dia.) x 52.5 (body dia.)
• Weight : 564g without battery
• Battery : 4x18650 Batteries
• Momentary forward click tactical switch
• Strobe mode for tactical and emergency use
• Highly focused beam for maximum distance
• Tactical knurling for firm grip
• Streamlined body design
• Mechanical reversed polarity protection design for battery carrier
• Intelligent highly efficient circuit board design for max performance and long run time
• Board design for max performance and long run time

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Notice : The above mentioned parameters (tested with three 3400mAh batteries) are approximate and may vary between flashlights, batteries, and environments.
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The hard (type III) anodizing is a slightly glossy black, with no chips or damage on my sample. The labels on the body are clear, bright white against the black background. There is a label mark on the control ring that lines up with the labels on the head.
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The light has mainly 3 parts (i.e. head, battery tube and tailcap), and there is a battery carrier in the tube.
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The light has a flat bezel ring and a red waterproof o-ring between the bezel ring and reflector. There are a lot of cooling fins on the head. The head base of the light has a positive contact spring to contact with the positive contact of the battery carrier. The light can roll fairly easily as there is no indented flats in the head help limit that somewhat.
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The light uses a ultra clear tempered lens with anti-reflective coating. The purple hue is reflected on it. The K50 V2 has a larger head than K40 and uses a cool white XM-L2 U2 1A emitter. It is perfectly centered in the bottom of the reflector cup. The large and deep aluminum reflector is very nicely finished. I would expect more excellent throwy beam than K40.
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The first distinctive aspect of the light is the control ring, located just below the cooling fins. All six constant output switching including Standby and Strobe is controlled entirely by the control ring. The light has ten slight indents on the control ring to help with feel. There is a white label mark (▼) on the control ring that lines up with the labels on the head. The individual six constant output levels are not labeled on the head, but there is a graded output arrow () which shows the direction of the output levels. There are firm detents at each level, with a slight click. So you may need to count detents to figure out what output level you are set to. Note that all labels and marks on the K50 V2 are much more clear and whiter than K40.
The total traverse of the control ring is about 165 degrees of the light that is the same as K40. The control ring action is smoother than K40 (i.e., its feel is nice, smooth, but neither loosen nor stiff).
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There is a positive contact surrounded by black plastic on the front of the battery carrier.
Also you will see the another contact point surrounded by inner contact rim and outer rim on the rear of the battery carrier, in addition to the center contact. Those contacts are the positive contact which is the input port for 5V charging, and the negative contact for the battery carrier respectively
The light uses a metal battery carrier that holds 4x18650 cells in series. It is sturdy and well-made. The positive contact plate is very slightly raised, and the negative contact spring has good elasticity in the carrier. So all types (i.e., true flat-tops, wide and small button-tops) of 18650's work fine. Longer & wider cells may be somewhat tight, but my protected high capacity (2600~3100mAh) cells all fit. You should insert the battery carrier in one direction into the battery tube (i.e., it's not reversible) as shown above. You, however, don't need to worry about that too much, as the battery carrier has the physical reverse polarity protection. But you should be careful to insert the 4x18650's into the battery carrier in the correct polarity. (i.e., the battery carrier has the same features and orientation as the X40).
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As you see the fully loaded battery carrier with unprotected & protected 18650 cells, I don't have any issues to insert my shortest & longest 18650 cells into the carrier. Thanks to the very slightly raised positive contact plate, there's no catch on the heatshrink on the flat cells when removing them. But it's easy to first depress the cells towards the negative spring before removing them. My cells with wider dia. didn't have difficulty when inserting or removing from the battery tube. The battery carrier introduces little rattle if you shake the light laterally when it's fully loaded with 18650's unprotected. But no rattle with the protected 18650 cells installed in my sample. Note that only 4x18650 li-ion cells are supported in the light (i.e., multiple CR123A or RCR123A are not supported, due to 10~17V working voltage range).
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Mostly the battery tube continues the cylindrical shape with four flat and long rectangular surfaces. The manufacturer, model name with serial number are on the battery tube.
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Screw threads are good quality square-cut. Note that both male & female threads on the head & tube are anodized for head lock-out. They are smooth with no cross-threading or squeaking on my sample.
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Unlike the K40 and X40, there's no knurling on the battery tube. Instead, the body is covered in a slightly bold checkered portions. It's slippery when using the light with wet hands. I would have hoped better knurling on the tube, similar to K40 and X40, that is of fairly high aggressiveness.
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The another distinctive aspect of the light is a built-in charging port for 4x18650's based on a magnetic dock. You can see two metal circular contacts and the tiny LED indicator for battery power status. Inside the battery tube, there are three contact springs (i.e., middle, inner, and outer spring) which are connected to the three same positioned contacts of the battery carrier.
The switch is the forward click switch which allows the light to be momentarily activated by half-pressing the switch while not affective the mode changing which is completely controlled by the control ring on the head. The switching travel is slightly longer than average, with strong resistance and provides audible click when engaged.
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The charging device consists of AC/DC adapter with USB interface, car charger with USB interface and USB charging cable. The AC/DC adapter and car charger have the LED power indicator.
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Like the X40, you can use one of the three charging device to charge 4x18650's in the light.
The USB charging cable attaches to the external tailcap contacts directly through a magnetic connection, like the X40. I feel this magnetic pull is somewhat strong similar to the X40. The LED indicator shows you two charging status. It will illuminate constant red under normal charging conditions. When charging is complete, it turns to constant green. The initial charging current is 500mAh (i.e., total current is 2A), and the termination current is 10% of the initial charging current. The light uses the same parallel charging way as X40.

I did a simple charging test with VicLite 18650 (2600mAh) protected and Panasonic NCR 18650 (3100mAh) unprotected cells in the light, using the AC adapter. The resting voltage before charging and after charging were as follows :

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I noticed that the resting voltages for the cells, once the LED indicator went green, were 4.18V~4.22V, which is reasonable and a bit higher than X40. I noticed the indicator back and forth between red and green until the cells are fully charged. I expect the charging time will be longer on the USB port than the AC adapter.
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The small LED indicator when the light is on or in standby mode shows four battery status. According to the manual, it will be green steadily when the battery capacity is more than 50%. It will be orange when the battery capacity is 30~50%. In case of red, the battery capacity is 10~30%. The red indicator will blink when the battery capacity is less than 10%.
But you will not see the orange indicator when use, because the resistance and the capacity of the battery is different. Actually I noticed by accident the orange indicator just for 1~2 seconds during the runtime test on max. output (L6). Also the indicator goes off and the light flickers shortly three times every 25 seconds when the battery is very low.
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You can attach the lanyard came with the light as shown above. I found it's easy to attach the lanyard without a split ring. The light can tailstand with the lanyard attached.
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From left to right, VicLite 18650 protected, SupBeam K40, SupBeam K50 V2, Olight M3X, Crelant 7G5CS, Armytek Barracuda.

The head size & body weight excluding battery of the following lights are as follows :
K40 - 76.5mm / 505g, K50 V2 - 90.1mm / 644g, M3X - 63.2m / 276g, 7G5CS - 64.0mm / 336g, Barracuda - 64.0mm / 392g. This is one of the largest reflectors I have ever seen.
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Measured Dimensions & Weight
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K50 V2 comes with a nice nylon holster with a velcro strap on the head. The light fits in the holster head-up only. I would rather the manufacturer did make the cover a bit longer (1~2cm).
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The light is a bit big size, due to the large head, but with a proper weight to manage it. The operating the control ring with two fingers (i.e., thumb and index finger) is relatively easy, but difficult with the thumb only. The build feels solid and well-made. Handling & balance of the light are good like K40 and X40. The overall build quality is very high.
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User Interface
On-off is controlled by the tailcap forward switch and output switching is controlled by the control ring in the head. Turn the light on-off by the tailcap clicky – press for momentary, press and release (i.e., click) for constant on.

There are six constant output levels, stanby, and strobe. Change output modes by turning the control ring in the head. Arranged from left to right (with the head facing forward) in the following order. L1 (min. output) -> L2 -> L3 -> L4 -> L5 -> L6 (max. output) -> standby -> strobe.

No light is produced on standby, but a small current will be drawn to allow the circuit to respond to a ring turn. I recommend you store the light clicked-off at the tailcap, or locked-out by a head twist.
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PWM
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The light shows no sign of PWM at any output levels. They say the light is actually current-controlled on all modes. I notice there is no buzzing sound on my sample.
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Runtime

1. K50 V2
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Runtime performance is very good and flat regulation is evident on L6 I tested. As with the K40, the light steps down slightly after around one mins of runtime (i.e., K50 V2 settles around the 88% output mark of the initial output for the runtime with cooling). I could see the light dropped down to a very low output similar to moonlight (L1), instead of completely shutting off when the battery protection circuit kicked in, and it flickered shortly three times every 25 seconds at a very low output for low battery warning, similar to the K40.
The overall runtime is longer with the greater capacity cells, as expected.
The runtime for 10% output of max. output (L6) for various 18650 is as follows :
1) 4xVicLite 18650 (2600mAh) protected : 111 min.
2) 4xPanasonic 18650 (3100mAh) unprotected : 124 min.
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2. K50 V2 & K40
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The K50 V2 on max. output is almost 27% brighter than the K40 in both intial output and stepped-down output continuously before hitting the built-in battery protection circuit shut-down. The overall runtime between the lights is almost the same.

The runtime for 10% output of max. output (L6) for the lights is as follows :
1) K50 V20 on 4xVicLite 18650 (2600mAh) protected : 111 min.
2) K4 4xVicLite 18650 (2600mAh) protected : 116 min.

From the above runtime graph, I speculate about the reason why they use 4x18650 battery source instead of 3x18650's. I like it very much.
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3. Runtime graph enlarged from the above 2
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The K50 V2 steps down slightly after 60~69 secs of runtime. The light remain perfectly stabilized throughout the remaining max. output run.
This seems to be a timed drop-down considering the overheat protection, not a thermal sensor feature.
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Beamshot

1. White door beamshot (about 50cm from the white door) on Max. output
- ISO100, F/3.5, 1/200sec, Auto white balance
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- ISO100, F/3.5, 1/500sec, Auto white balance
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- ISO100, F/3.5, 1/800sec, Auto white balance
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- ISO100, F/3.5, 1/1250sec, Auto white balance
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The overall beam profile is very smooth and clean with noticeable flaws and has an intensely small hot spot. The spill beam is pretty wide and it is rather dim relative to the hot spot. The beam is a cool side.
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- ISO100, F/3.5, 1/400sec, Auto white balance
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I think the six output levels are well spaced. The K50 V2 has very good lower output level L1 (closer to a moonlight).
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2. 55m Outdoor Beamshot on Max. output

- ISO100, F/2.8, 1sec, Auto white balance
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3. 60~65m Outdoor Beamshot on Max. output

- ISO100, F/2.8, 1sec, Auto white balance
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5. 130m Outdoor Beamshot

- ISO100, F/2.8, 1sec, Auto white balance
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6. 155, Outdoor Beamshot

- ISO100, F/2.8, 1sec, Auto white balance
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This light is a new throw king with single XM-L2 light I've tested to date that is pretty impressive.
 
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Ryp

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Wow, the beam looks amazing. Very clean - no artifacts, sharply defined hotspot, very smooth spill.
 

candle lamp

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Thanks for your support and interest. Gentlemen! :)

Yes, without a doubt, the K50 V2 has excellent build quality and awesome throw I've seen to date in a single XM-L2 LED with reflectored light. :thumbsup:
 

Mr. Tone

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Again, you gave us a great review, thanks. I really appreciate all your pics and the fact that you used both protected and unprotected batteries and measured all before/after voltages. I really like the concept of charging the batteries in the light and not having to take the batteries out. It looks like the parallel charging setup works well based on your testing.
 

candle lamp

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Again, you gave us a great review, thanks. I really appreciate all your pics and the fact that you used both protected and unprotected batteries and measured all before/after voltages. I really like the concept of charging the batteries in the light and not having to take the batteries out. It looks like the parallel charging setup works well based on your testing.

Thanks again. Mr. Tone!
I like the the charging concept too.
According to the manufacturer, the built-in charger will charge the used up batteries with a lower current (i.e.,about 10% of the initial charging current) until they get up into the normal operation range, then the charger will use normal charging current (500mAh). If you have the used up Li-ion cells, the initial charging current starts from 10% of the initial charging current. I think this function avoids damage from high current surges.
But, one must be careful to the over-discharge of the cell. Because there's no over-dicharge protection function in the light.
 

Overclocker

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yep the parallel charging feature is great. i think there are individual charge controllers for each cell, inside the part of the carrier that's sealed with the clear adhesive

much much better than a half-assed solution by Nitecore on their MH40 charging TWO CELLS IN SERIES!!! and just depending on the protection circuit to do its job. potential pipe bomb
 

Mr. Tone

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Thanks again. Mr. Tone!
I like the the charging concept too.
According to the manufacturer, the built-in charger will charge the used up batteries with a lower current (i.e.,about 10% of the initial charging current) until they get up into the normal operation range, then the charger will use normal charging current (500mAh). If you have the used up Li-ion cells, the initial charging current starts from 10% of the initial charging current. I think this function avoids damage from high current surges.
But, one must be careful to the over-discharge of the cell. Because there's no over-dicharge protection function in the light.

Since the light says it only operates down to 10 volts then people using well matched Panasonic cells would probably be fine since those are rated to 2.5 volts discharge. Since they would be under a little bit of a load they would probably be fine but not other unprotected brands. I would think that a decent protection circuit would kick in before any battery got that low, however. With the runtime on this light people should not be running it down that low, anyway. I had a Thrunite TN31 and also a Niwalker Vostro with XM-L2. I disliked having to unscrew the light and remove the battery magazine and all. This really looks like a major convenience and time saver with this K50 V2.
 

candle lamp

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Since the light says it only operates down to 10 volts then people using well matched Panasonic cells would probably be fine since those are rated to 2.5 volts discharge. Since they would be under a little bit of a load they would probably be fine but not other unprotected brands.

I agree fully with you. However, when multi cells are discharged together in series, one or some of them will drop faster than the others. I belive many observed this unequal discharge in series, and I've observed the unequal discharge in this situation with K50 V2 on 4xPanasonic 18650 (3100mAh) unprotected cells in my runtime test. The resting voltages of the cells after runtime test & recovery were 2.86v, 3.04v, 3.06v, 2.84v in my review. So I guess some cells would be drop to less than 2.5v, if I don't stop running the light properly. :sweat:
 

Mr. Tone

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^
Right. I was thinking more along the lines of protected Panasonics. Since they can safely go down to 2.5 volts and most protection circuits will kick in at 2.8 or 2.7 that won't allow them to go down past 2.5. It is probably not the best thing for other cells to go low enough to trip the protection circuit but the Panasonics would be fine. Clearly, from your results and others, cells will not equally discharge in series for some reason.
 

357mag1

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^
Right. I was thinking more along the lines of protected Panasonics. Since they can safely go down to 2.5 volts and most protection circuits will kick in at 2.8 or 2.7 that won't allow them to go down past 2.5. It is probably not the best thing for other cells to go low enough to trip the protection circuit but the Panasonics would be fine. Clearly, from your results and others, cells will not equally discharge in series for some reason.

They never will discharge equally in series. Each cell will be slightly different (internal resistance, actual capacity, ect...) but it shouldn't matter as long as the user sticks with using identical cells of the same age that can be discharged to 2.5volts. The resting voltage doesn't mean much as all of those cells under a load would have almost identical voltage readings.

Keep in mind if the light shuts off at 10V and you remove the cells they will all spring up .3 or more volts with no load (resting voltage).
 

Wiggle

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I have a modified version of this light (K50vn) and I have to say that I am big fan of the recharging system for this light. To me, removing a battery carrier and prying 4 cells out everytime you want to top them off is a big inconvenience compared to the magnetic charging port. This has the option of recharging but lets you use/swap 18650s at will which IMO is a great design.
 
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