Zebralight moonlight mode duration test thread

WalkIntoTheLight

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Inspired by the following thread:

http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb...bralight-SC5&p=4638947&viewfull=1#post4638947

This is for people to post results of long-duration tests on Zebralight flashlights, using moonlight mode.

I am starting this off by initiating a moonlight mode test on two SC52 models:

1. A cool white SC52 (the original version).
2. A neutral white SC52w-L2 (the 2014 updated version).

I have placed both on the highest moonlight mode (what ZL calls the 0.34 lumen mode). Test started at noon Eastern time (16:00 UTC), April 16 2015.

I am using freshly charged regular AA Eneloops in them. I am not sure of their exact capacity, but they should be around 1900mAh.

I will try to check them a few times a day. I expect the test to last about 2 weeks. I will call it when they either dim to an unusable level (around the dimmest of the moonlight modes?), or starts flickering.

From my past tests with running down a SC52, I notice that flickering seems to occur on moonlight mode, before any step-down happens to a lower moonlight level. One oddity is that the light will still run steady on "low" mode (the regular L1 mode), but only outputs a moonlight amount of light. However, even though I expect the light will run steady on L1, I'll still call the test finished if it starts to flicker on L2a.


Update, final results are:
SC52: 12 days
SC52w-L2: 14.7 days

(See posts lower down for more details.)
 
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markr6

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I may join in. I don't use my SC52w much, so I'll post results if I decide to make the effort :)
 

RetroTechie

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I'll join in with the ZebraLight SC51w (1x AA, neutral white XP-G led). But limit myself to tailcap current measurement + some math.

Lowest mode on this light can be selected between 2 levels, according to spec: L1 2.2 lm (3 days) or L2 0.18 lm (16 days). I measured with a battery voltage of ~1.25V, which is a good average for the NiMH that's usually in there.

L1 measures 34 mA, with a 2000 mAh battery that would put runtime in the order of 59 hours or ~2.5 days.
L2 measures 3~5 mA depending on mA-meter range, I suspect the 5 mA is more accurate as it's measured on the higher range (200 mA) which causes a lower voltage drop across the meter. With a 2000 mAh battery that would put runtime in the order of 400 hours or ~17 days.

I'm not patient enough to do a full run, above estimate is close enough for me. And both pretty close to spec... (kudoz, ZL! :thumbsup: )
 
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snowlover91

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Not bad results at all with those estimates! I will receive my SC32W tomorrow and conduct a run test on it with a lithium primary since ZL uses a similar battery in theirs. Not many tests have been done on this light for runtime so I look forward to seeing the results!

btw, how did you conduct the estimated test Retro? How did you measure the mA draw?
 

WalkIntoTheLight

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To measure current draws, just use a DMM and put it into current mode. Unscrew the flashlight tailcap. Connect one lead to the battery (negative terminal), and the other lead to the bare metal at the end of the flashlight tube. Then turn on the light to whatever mode you want to measure (having 3 or 4 hands helps), and measure the current.

Here's what I measure on my SC52w-L2, using a charged Eneloop:

High 1 : 2.6 A
High 2a : 1.8 A
High 2b : 588 mA
Medium 1: 224 mA
Medium 2a: 170 mA
Medium 2b : 82 mA
Low 1 : 28 mA
Low 2a : 5.2 mA
Low 2b : 2.4 mA
Low 2c : 2.0 mA
Off : 20 uA
 

regulator

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Nice Walkintothelight. I typically do the same to estimate my runtimes - I'm too impatient. I also like to see the runtimes from people who have the patience - thank you.
 

markr6

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To measure current draws, just use a DMM and put it into current mode. Unscrew the flashlight tailcap. Connect one lead to the battery (negative terminal), and the other lead to the bare metal at the end of the flashlight tube. Then turn on the light to whatever mode you want to measure (having 3 or 4 hands helps), and measure the current.

I just tried this with my SC62w since that's all I had with me. But I'm not reading anything on my DMM and the light won't turn on. Any ideas?
 

WalkIntoTheLight

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I just tried this with my SC62w since that's all I had with me. But I'm not reading anything on my DMM and the light won't turn on. Any ideas?

Assuming you moved the DMM's wires to the correct plugs (start with the 10A plug, if you have more than one), and set it to measure current, then make sure the leads have good contact with both the battery (you need to make sure to press the battery a bit, to make sure it's positive end is still in contact with the flashlight terminal) and the bare metal edge of the flashlight tail.

It can be tough to do this by yourself, because then you have to use a 3rd hand to turn on the light to the various settings. But, it's possible.

If your DMM can measure microamps (probably a different plug than the 10A one), you can see if it will work without even turning on the light. There is a small parasitic drain with the flashlight off, because of the electronic switch. I measure this around 20uA.
 

Swede74

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I have started my test. I'm using the SC51 as a control. I won't be taking pictures every day, but I will try to remember to turn on the SC51 regularly to compare output. At the moment they look about the same (even though the SC52 is supposed to be brighter - the culprit could be either sample variation, XP-G vs XM-L or middle-aged eyes) and hopefully I will be able to tell when the output on the SC52 has dropped significantly.

zlsc52test_edit_K3.jpg
 

snowlover91

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Just received my rcr123 batteries today so I will begin a moonlight test on the highest low mode which is rated for 8 days on a 1500mah primary battery. Since the capacity of most rcr123 batteries is 600-700mah, I would expect to see about 40% of the given runtimes which would be around 3 days. I will also test at the medium mode which is rated for 11 hours, I would expect around 5-6 hours with an rcr battery. Let the testing begin!!
 

markr6

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Assuming you moved the DMM's wires to the correct plugs (start with the 10A plug, if you have more than one), and set it to measure current, then make sure the leads have good contact with both the battery (you need to make sure to press the battery a bit, to make sure it's positive end is still in contact with the flashlight terminal) and the bare metal edge of the flashlight tail.

It can be tough to do this by yourself, because then you have to use a 3rd hand to turn on the light to the various settings. But, it's possible.

If your DMM can measure microamps (probably a different plug than the 10A one), you can see if it will work without even turning on the light. There is a small parasitic drain with the flashlight off, because of the electronic switch. I measure this around 20uA.

I didn't move the wire to the 10A. Works now, thanks!
 

snowlover91

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I must say I'm quite impressed with the runtime so far from my SC32W! It has been running for over 2.5 hours on the lowest hi setting and has no noticeable dimming as of yet with a measured voltage of 3.45 in my rcr123 battery. It is rated at 4.1 hours with a 1500mah battery on this mode, by my calculations a 650mah battery should get approximately 2 hours of constant use at this level. Light just stepped down to the the highest medium level after 2 hours and 40 minutes at the lowest hi setting! Pretty impressive for a rcr123 battery IMO and exceeded my expectations based off of my calculations. Next I'm going to test the highest low mode and see how it goes, it will be awhile before we see results from that :)
 

Sarlix

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Watching this thread with interest. Thanks to all the testers lovecpf
 
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Swede74

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188 hours into the test and the SC52 and the Eneloop are still going strong.

zlsc52test_2_188hrs_K3.jpg
 

WalkIntoTheLight

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200 hours, and I can't detect any change in output from my SC52 or SC52w-L2. (Running on the brightest L2 moonlight mode.)
 

WalkIntoTheLight

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Okay, the SC52 is now flickering, so I'm calling it dead. Sometime between 9am and 1pm today, so it lasted 285-289 hours. About 12 days. Shorter than I expected.

The SC52w-L2 is still going. To my eyes, it still appears to be shining at the original brightness.

The Eneloops used in each are from the same lot, so I don't think there's much difference in the battery capacity between the two lights. Perhaps some SC52's last longer than others because of random variation. Or, perhaps the SC52w-L2 (or maybe all L2 versions) are more efficient?

Based on how the light appears to die, I don't think there is any step-down to a lower moonlight mode. It just starts flickering, unable to provide enough constant current to keep the LED on all the time.

The battery from the SC52 measured 0.85 volts as soon as I took it out of the light. So, it's been pretty-much 100% drained.

I tried switching back to L1 to see if that stopped the flickering. It helped, but there was still some minor flickering (about as bright as moonlight mode). So I don't think there was much time left anyway, even if I let it run on L1.

I'll report back when the SC52w-L2 dies.
 

snowlover91

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Awesome results, that's quite interesting that the older SC52 quit while the other newer version is still running. I started my SC32 today at the 2.5 lumen mode, it's supposed to last 8 days on a 1500mah primary so I'm estimating around 3.5-4 days usage from my rcr123 650mah batteries if their numbers are accurate. Test was started today at 12:35pm on the 2.5 lumen (highest low) setting. My previous test I did the 100 lumen level (lowest hi) and measured 2 hours 40 minutes before the light stepped down to medium. Zebralight states 4.1 hours at this level from a 1500mah battery and a 650mah battery should have given approximately 2 hours, so it exceeded my expectations at this level.
 

Swede74

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288 hours (12 days) and still no flicker or noticeable decline in output.

zltest288hrs_K3.jpg
 
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