Ultrafire C1 XML P60 - xml on a budget - pic HEAVY!!!

RepProdigious

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So with all the hip kids talking about the new XML-led i also wanted to give this one a try. I figured that with $8-$10 for just the led or $10-$15 mounted on board the Ultrafire C1 with its cost of about $20 bucks @ dx was not a bad deal since you also get a dropin, driver and a complete host to protect the led during its trip on the slow-boat from china! I figured that a review would be nice since more people seem to be on the hunt for some nice xml goodness nowadays so here i go!

So here is our culprit, the 'UltraFire C1 XM-LT6 5-Mode 510-Lumen Memory White LED Flashlight with Clip/Strap':
img7069custom.jpg


Front view:
img7070custom.jpg


Rear:
img7071custom.jpg


All looking OK for the price no? Now lets take a closer look at all the parts!

The P60 module taken out:
img7072custom.jpg


LED-reflector alignment (looks lopsided doesn't it?):
img7078custom.jpg


Reflector removed:
img7080custom.jpg


Isolating ring removed:
img7082custom.jpg


Clos-up on the alignment problem, not properly soldered;
img7084custom.jpg


Driver board:
img7079custom.jpg


This is where the module lives:
img7073custom.jpg


The head:
img7077custom.jpg


Parts that make it up:
img7099custom.jpg


Nice 2mm thick glass lens (looks less but thats just a picture angle thing)
img7100custom.jpg


The bottom of the battery tube:
img7074custom.jpg


Nice threads:
img7075custom.jpg


All parts on the battery tube removed:
img7098custom.jpg


Nice clicky housing:
img7076custom.jpg


Taken apart:
img7089custom.jpg


Spring side:
img7091custom.jpg


Other side (note that the clicky is held in place by plastic prongs not soldering):
img7092custom.jpg


The plastic prongs and connecting parts on the clicky;
img7093custom.jpg


Here's some general pics on machining and finish:
img7102custom.jpg


img7106custom.jpg


img7107custom.jpg


img7108custom.jpg


Finish compared (fltr: Solarforce L2 shiny non-HA - Solarforce typeIII - Ultrafire C1)
img7111custom.jpg


Some info:

The driver board is your basic 5-mode, Hi -med - lo - strobe - SOS
High: 1400mA
Med: 400mA
Low: 25mA
Strobe: Annoying
SOS: Correct spelling and also quite annoying

Pro's:
-Price
-Pretty decent finish overall (slight assembly damage but okay for the price)
-All O-rings came lubed
-It's cheap
-It actually worked straight out of the box :sssh:
-Has lock-out feature
-Great value for money
-P60 host

Cons:
-LED off-center (if it were properly soldered it would be perfect as the star fits snuggly in the drop-in so it would center automagically)
-Bezel ring looks crap (but hey, it gets the job done)
-Clicky not soldered

Relative:
-Does not tail-stand
-Clip (if you dont like clip's you can take it off but it will look horrible)
-Nice white tint
-1400mA on max (if you dont like modding this is okay but if you heat sink the light the led could be driver harder)

Looks pretty neat doesn't it? I have to say that (for the price) i'm not disappointed. For 'modders' this is a pretty good deal as the only real problem i have with the light (off-center LED) can be fixed pretty easily!



Some extra's:
The head has surefire-compatible threads, both on the size of the bezel-ring:
img7115custom.jpg


And on the body:
img7095custom.jpg


Also on the bottom side the light has compatible threads:
img7097custom.jpg



So overall:
If you're buying this light just for the light its a very nice deal (if you get one with a properly soldered LED) but certainly not the brightest you can get for your money. If you like tinkering with your lights however this one is perfect as it has compatible threads and is very very mod-friendly! I tossed a 8xAMC7135 in there and did some heavy duty heat-sinking and ill see how it holds up. If the led burns out on me i still have a nice host to play with!:hitit:
 

RepProdigious

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Rep,

Nice review of the C1. How's the tread quality when you screwed on the SF bezel and solar tailcap?

Thanks!

Threads feel solid and smooth to me when mixing brands! No gritty, bity or digging feel whatsoever.

Do keep in mind tho that the tailcap threads on the C1 body are anodised and thus non-conductive, brands like solarforce are designed with the threads being a part of the electrical path so you have to make sure that for example the aluminium retaining-ring in a solarforce tail has to touch the body to work (as the bottom of the body of course is bare cunductive aluminium). Easy way around this problem is to use an old cut in half P60 spring in the tailcap to make this connection if the tailcap use is too 'deep'.
 

bshanahan14rulz

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img7070custom.jpg

Relative:
-Does not tail-stand

Also, IMO, another con is that rubber ring. I've had my C1 for a while, first flashlight I ever bought that wasn't just the cheapest thing I could find at walmart. Still use it, but that ring wore down and broke off years ago. Also, I've lost the plastic lens retaining ring, so mine's an assault version from now on.
 

DavidAD

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Did you clean off the anodizing or did it come that way? I just got a 501B with the xm-l. It does get hot and the body seems to get hot also. It seems to be brighter than my MTE P-7 with a bigger hot spot.
 

RepProdigious

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The pictures show it exactly how it arrived from china (except for the brand swapping shots of course). And with the original driver it didn't get really warm quickly only bein driven at 1400mA and all. Now with its new 2.8A driver it does get nicely hot!
 

LMF5000

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Dear RepProdigious,

Could you give me some more details about the 2.8A driver?

I've just bought my first flashlight (will be posting a full review soon), and it has an XM-L that draws 1.8A at the tailcap with a fully charged battery, decaying to 1.3A by the time the battery is discharged (enough to cause its protection circuit to make the driver kick down to medium mode).

So, did you fit a 2.8A driver and keep the same XM-L emitter and the same P60 dropin? Does the protection circuit on the 18650 let you draw that much current? Doesn't it overheat after a while?

Thanks in advance for taking the time to reply. As you can see from my postcount, I need all the help I can get :)
 

RepProdigious

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Dear RepProdigious,

Could you give me some more details about the 2.8A driver?

Here's the driver in question:

img7145custom.jpg


img7146custom.jpg


I think these were $4 a piece at KD but i am unable to find them on the site right now....

So, did you fit a 2.8A driver and keep the same XM-L emitter and the same P60 dropin? Does the protection circuit on the 18650 let you draw that much current? Doesn't it overheat after a while?

Yup, same dropin, same emitter. Just remove the old driver board and replace with the new. Do keep in mind if you actually intend to use the light on high for any noticeable periods you need to do some heavy heat-sinking (think tight copper-wrap and heat sinking compound) and yes the light will get very very toasty tho i haven't been able to trip the thermal protection just yet but it might be possible if you burn through multiple cells one after the other in blistering sunlight (tho i cant imagine why you'd wanna do that). As the cell runs down the current will also go down with this driver setup.

As for the cells over-current protection, 2.8A should not be a problem for most protected cells (its only a 1.2-1c discharge after all). I even dare say that its not the over-current protection but the internal resistance on cheap cells that will hold you back. Best solution for that problem is to go with the AW or Redilast cells, those are great and will even go way higher than 2.8A if you ever need it in the future (but are also quite expensive), I use red-black 2400mAh TrustFire cells in this light and they work great and are nice and cheap.
 
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lundeholm

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i just made an order for that driver on KD, hoping to upgrade a solarforce XML dropin. I have never done any driver swapping before so I feel a little nervous :p does the driver come with any instructions?
 

brted

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Instructions? That's a good one. That's what these forums are for. Those driver boards look a lot bigger in the pictures, so the biggest problem is soldering to tiny pads and making sure you don't short anything out with too much solder or a bare wire touching something it shouldn't. But once you can swap out a driver, you can do all kinds of stuff.
 

LMF5000

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Here's the driver in question:

Yup, same dropin, same emitter. Just remove the old driver board and replace with the new. Do keep in mind if you actually intend to use the light on high for any noticeable periods you need to do some heavy heat-sinking (think tight copper-wrap and heat sinking compound) and yes the light will get very very toasty tho i haven't been able to trip the thermal protection just yet but it might be possible if you burn through multiple cells one after the other in blistering sunlight (tho i cant imagine why you'd wanna do that). As the cell runs down the current will also go down with this driver setup.

As for the cells over-current protection, 2.8A should not be a problem for most protected cells (its only a 1.2-1c discharge after all). I even dare say that its not the over-current protection but the internal resistance on cheap cells that will hold you back. Best solution for that problem is to go with the AW or Redilast cells, those are great and will even go way higher than 2.8A if you ever need it in the future (but are also quite expensive), I use red-black 2400mAh TrustFire cells in this light and they work great and are nice and cheap.

My P60 light does get very hot. I put an aluminium spacer to get a tight fit between the host and the dropin. After 40 minutes on high, with the bulb standing on the desk untouched, the outside of the torch reaches 60 degrees Celsius according to my infrared thermometer. The LED itself would be close to 80 Celsius at that time.

Coindicentally, I have those red & black Trustfire cells you mentioned (the one with a picture of fire on the sticker). I charged them to 4.1V on my hobby charger (imax B6) and did a 1-amp discharge test down to 3V, and the result was a capacity readout of 1970mAh. So that 2400 might be a bit optimistic... or maybe measured after a 4.2V charge and using a very very low current (not realistic for our flashlights lol). Incidentally with my light I get a runtime of 1hour 10 minutes on high and three hours on medium before the safety circuit triggers.

Do you have to desolder the old driver board to remove it, or is it just a matter of pulling it out?

As the cell runs down the current will also go down with this driver setup.

So I take it that this is just a current-limiting driver, not a buck/boost converter? Will it handle two lithium cells in series? That way it would give an almost constant level of light output as the cells discharge since they will always be hitting the current limit with the combined battery voltage being so much higher than the LED's Vf.
 

RepProdigious

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Do you have to desolder the old driver board to remove it, or is it just a matter of pulling it out?

A bit of both, often they are pressed in the head with a bit of force and soldered in place, i just melt the old solder and put toothpicks through the holes the wires to the led go through to push the board out... work a treat!


So I take it that this is just a current-limiting driver, not a buck/boost converter? Will it handle two lithium cells in series? That way it would give an almost constant level of light output as the cells discharge since they will always be hitting the current limit with the combined battery voltage being so much higher than the LED's Vf.

Yeah, its your basic 7135 based driver, all you want to know is in the spec sheet. These drivers only work up to 6 V so 2 rechargeables is a big no.
 

brted

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Do you have to desolder the old driver board to remove it, or is it just a matter of pulling it out?

There's usually a blob or two of solder on the bottom of the pill that you have to remove or deal with somehow. Then the leads are soldered to the board, so those have to removed as well. Sometimes the leads are really short and you have to remove them from the LED in order to get the board out.


So I take it that this is just a current-limiting driver, not a buck/boost converter? Will it handle two lithium cells in series? That way it would give an almost constant level of light output as the cells discharge since they will always be hitting the current limit with the combined battery voltage being so much higher than the LED's Vf.

It is just a linear regulator. Two li-ion cells will be too much for it. Shiningbeam has a similar driver that it says is okay for 2 CR123A's, but you're just burning off any voltage beyond the Vf of the LED which will be about 3.3V. So with two CR123A's at 6V total, you're burning off 2.7V or 45% of the battery power. Better to use 1 li-ion cell and then you're only burning off 20% even on a fully charged battery (and it gets even more efficient as the voltage decreases).
 

LMF5000

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:thumbsup:Thanks RepProdigious and brted. It's all so much clearer now!

I don't wish to hijack this thread, but I have one last question: When a board uses multiple 7135 drivers, does it just connect all their pins in parallel? In that case, is the regulated output current from the board equal to the sum of the current output of each 7135 (i.e. total current limit = number of 7135s x 360mA)?

Can you also parallel multiple driver boards? I.e. if you take two 1.4A boards, connect both + and - battery terminals, and both LED terminals together in parallel and power it up, will you get a current of 2.8A through the LED (assuming battey voltage is sufficiently above Vf)?
 

RepProdigious

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:thumbsup:Thanks RepProdigious and brted. It's all so much clearer now!

I don't wish to hijack this thread, but I have one last question: When a board uses multiple 7135 drivers, does it just connect all their pins in parallel? In that case, is the regulated output current from the board equal to the sum of the current output of each 7135 (i.e. total current limit = number of 7135s x 360mA)?

That is the basic science behind the 7135 yes....


Can you also parallel multiple driver boards? I.e. if you take two 1.4A boards, connect both + and - battery terminals, and both LED terminals together in parallel and power it up, will you get a current of 2.8A through the LED (assuming battey voltage is sufficiently above Vf)?

Well, yes and no. If the two boards in question are 'dumb' single mode than yes you can add em together. If the boards have added functionality most of the time you have to modify one or both of the boards to make em stackable.
 

shao.fu.tzer

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Hey I'm about to wire this driver into a fried Solarforce XM-L. Can someone point me to the proper mode selection bridges that must be made or any wiring diagrams in general?

Thanks
Shao
 

brted

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From the second star (counting clockwise) to the ground will give you 3 non-flashy modes. I think it is the same as the AK47 driver if you do a search on that.
 

LMF5000

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I don't have the answer, but you might try temporarily bridging a star to the ground ring using something like a well-placed crocodile clip (of the small size used on test leads) or some better method (maybe tape a small piece of copper wire in the right spot?), and testing the kind of output it gives you. Repeat for all four stars and that way you'll know which one you need :)

As an aside, can RepProdigious (or brted) please tell me what modifications would need to be done to stack driver boards that have extra functionality?
 

criminalhate

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Also, IMO, another con is that rubber ring. I've had my C1 for a while, first flashlight I ever bought that wasn't just the cheapest thing I could find at walmart. Still use it, but that ring wore down and broke off years ago. Also, I've lost the plastic lens retaining ring, so mine's an assault version from now on.

I replaced my rubber ring with 2 26mm x 3mm o-rings and I think it looks a lot better.

I'll make a thread about my (simple) modded C1 once I finish it and get some pics.
 
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