Zebralight SC52 (XM-L, 1xAA, 1x14500) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO and more!

treek13

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It would appear you have a SC52W (which was released in 2013) not a SC52W L2 (released in 2014).

The SC52W already came with a XM-L2 (like the L2 models & unlike the SC52) so I believe the way to access strobe is the only difference. Strobe is a sub-level of high as you have stated & there is no 3 short click access to it with your model.
 

mactavish

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It would appear you have a SC52W (which was released in 2013) not a SC52W L2 (released in 2014).

The SC52W already came with a XM-L2 (like the L2 models & unlike the SC52) so I believe the way to access strobe is the only difference. Strobe is a sub-level of high as you have stated & there is no 3 short click access to it with your model.

Indeed, got it toward the end of 2013, printed on light "SC52W", found the original manual and I had made a little note on it saying "XM-L2", didn't know they made some kind of upgrade in 2014. And you are correct, in my original manual NO mention of the three clicks for strobe, unlike the PDF manual I downloaded from the Zebralight website, hence my confusion. I don't use strobe, so it's no big deal, but I was curious, so THANKS for your knowledge!
 

WalkIntoTheLight

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Indeed, got it toward the end of 2013, printed on light "SC52W", found the original manual and I had made a little note on it saying "XM-L2", didn't know they made some kind of upgrade in 2014. And you are correct, in my original manual NO mention of the three clicks for strobe, unlike the PDF manual I downloaded from the Zebralight website, hence my confusion. I don't use strobe, so it's no big deal, but I was curious, so THANKS for your knowledge!

I think the changes to the L2 were the stobe, and also the electronics are now potted. Unless then SC52/52w electronics were already potted. Anyone know for sure?

I'm not a fan of strobes, so I actually prefer the old UI.
 

scs

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Selfbuilt, I attempted to measure the standby drain of my H52Fw on an Eneloop and got alternating results of 2.6 micro amps and 1.9 mA.
I've figured out when my DMM generates each figure. When I select the micro amp range and test the light the DMM registers 1.9 mA.
If I then turn the dial to select the mA range, test the light (at which point a reading flashes but then quickly returns to zero) and then select the micro amp range again, the DMM now registers 2.6 micro amps.
On the contrary, if after I switch the dial from the micro amp range to the mA range and I DON'T test the light, then when I select the micro amp range again, the DMM still registers 1.9mA.
What might be going on in between the DMM and the light that's causing this behavior?
Much thanks.
 

selfbuilt

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What might be going on in between the DMM and the light that's causing this behavior?
Much thanks.
That\s hard to say - I'd have to leave that to the experts with more expertise with how DMM's operate. Maybe someone in the electronics subforum here could explain the behavior? You may want to post the question there.
 

aberson

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When I select the micro amp range and test the light the DMM registers 1.9 mA.
If I then turn the dial to select the mA range, test the light (at which point a reading flashes but then quickly returns to zero) and then select the micro amp range again, the DMM now registers 2.6 micro amps.
On the contrary, if after I switch the dial from the micro amp range to the mA range and I DON'T test the light, then when I select the micro amp range again, the DMM still registers 1.9mA.

Long shot, but perhaps switching between uA and mA is doing something similar to a button press, causing your light to toggle into the lowest moonlight mode where you can't even tell it's on, explaining the 2.6mA.

To test, you could short across the DMM with a piece of wire while switching ranges. This would ensure that the flashlight sensed the battery being fully connected the entire time.

Or you could try doing this in the dark where you could see the moonlight mode.
 

scs

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Long shot, but perhaps switching between uA and mA is doing something similar to a button press, causing your light to toggle into the lowest moonlight mode where you can't even tell it's on, explaining the 2.6mA.

To test, you could short across the DMM with a piece of wire while switching ranges. This would ensure that the flashlight sensed the battery being fully connected the entire time.

Or you could try doing this in the dark where you could see the moonlight mode.

Sorry I wasn't clear. I removed the leads each time before I switched the dial on the DMM.
The 2.6 reading was in micro amps, so it's much too low even for the lowest mode.
That 1.9 mA reading on the other hand might potentially be the current for the lowest mode, the one that's supposed to run for 3 months. The rough math works out. I haven't thought of that and testing it in the dark. Thanks for the suggestion. I will try it.
 

WalkIntoTheLight

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That 1.9 mA reading on the other hand might potentially be the current for the lowest mode, the one that's supposed to run for 3 months. The rough math works out.

My SC52w-L2 moonlight modes measure (from highest to lowest): 5.2mA, 2.4mA, 2.0mA. Standby is 20uA.

So, yes, it looks like that one mode you're measuring is a dim moonlight mode, probably L2C.
 

scs

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My SC52w-L2 moonlight modes measure (from highest to lowest): 5.2mA, 2.4mA, 2.0mA. Standby is 20uA.

So, yes, it looks like that one mode you're measuring is a dim moonlight mode, probably L2C.

I've tried it. The light doesn't turn on during measurement.
I'm guessing the design of the DMM might be causing the initial 1.9 mA measurement. Perhaps it lowers resistance to better detect a low current when dialed into the micro amp range from the beginning. Switching to mA and then taking a measurement recalibrates it?
 

phosphor22

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Just wanted to add how much I love the SC52w - when I get up at night having everything on one button is great -- easy moving between modes, - no switching between tail clicky and a side button, for instance, and not loud either when changing modes. My only complaint is the screws that hold the clip were really torqued enough to be distorted and are rough enough to cut the hand -- and it is right where you grip. I'll get a file out today to smooth those down. Wish more AA lights had this basic UI.

UPdate 9/28 - Zebralight and retailer I purchased from sent replacement screws out very quickly-
 
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zhou

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Hello, i got this light not a long time ago. Is there any reasonable way to attach a lanyard to it?
 

WalkIntoTheLight

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Hello, i got this light not a long time ago. Is there any reasonable way to attach a lanyard to it?

Just tie it or hook it over one of the prongs on the clip. (Between the outer edge, and the inner space.) No way you could pull the lanyard off there, unless you rip the screws right out of the flashlight!

For a larger hook that won't fit in the clip hole, put it over the entire clip. Very unlikely to be pulled out, since the clips are so tight.
 

kreisl

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  • Built-in over-discharging protection for 14500 batteries (2.8V cutoff)

This feature/ad/claim/spec does need some explanation. My current SC52 unit is the SC52w L2 from II/2014 and i've tested this feature repeatedly, over and over again. In order to imitate RL battery behavior at low levels, the testing is imho best done with a low battery than with a voltage source. At very low battery levels, say ~2.9V under load, the flashlight does not really let you operate the light at the higher modes (M1, M2, H1, H2) anymore but will almost(!) immediately automatically step down to Low (L1, L2). At that point one can tell that the circuitry is still in regulation. And yes there is some kind of internal threshold, ~2.831V (voltage under load), at which the light (=L1, L2, M1, M2, H1, H2) would shut off for the first time.

So far so good.

However that's also around the point where the circuitry drops out of Liion regulation, meaning that the SC52 will still emit light if you somehow "force" or manage to operate the light beyond that point, e.g. by re-switching the light on, playing with the modes. This way you'd bypass the 2.8V threshold and enter an unregulated Low ('direct drive' or 'Nimh regulation'?) which would drain the 14500 down to 0.6V in a continuously dimming light.

I am not saying that it is easy (for other testers) to reproduce the entering of the unregulated Low but it is possible to do so and it happened several times during my repeated testings, which is why i got the impression that the light didn't have any "2.8V cutoff".

In short, the SC52 light does have 2.8V liion cutoff but one should not rely on it.
 
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Swedpat

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A few days ago I received SC52w together with H52w. I have considered these lights pretty long time but actually got SC5w before them. This seems to go the opposite way I guess, to buy the predecessor after the successor. But at first I was in two minds whether I would choose SC52 or SC5. SC5 provides a bit better grip, but can not be used with 14500.
Because of my satisfaction of SC5 I asked myself: will another Zebralight 1AA be too much? My answer was a clear NO.
H52w is a great compact headlamp, and so are SC52w and SC5 really great pocket lights! The only thing I need to be careful about is to not place a 14500 in SC5, but that will not be a problem.
Whatever version I think there are no finer 1AA lights than Zebralight. I am really satisfied with all of them!

My Zebralight 1AA collection. From left: H501r, H501w, H52w, SC52w, SC5w




By the way: when I now again try the very nice H501w I realise that compared to newer models it's pretty bad brightness. I read that mid mode is 15lm and high is 80lm. The only mode which is adequate for more than very close distance use is the high mode. And every time I put it on I want at least the high mode. This makes me longing for the new H502w L2. Several more brightness levels and maximum is 260lm. I will get much better runtime with same brightness level. Having that said: H501w surely will still be in my collection.
 
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kreisl

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4 years later since OP the light is still in production as it seems. i couldn't find any S1A runtime graphs including the SC52 in comparison so i visually compared the output of S1A SS (xm-l2 cw) vs. SC52w (xm-l2 nw) by means of varying ceiling bounce/wall bounce/double wall bounce methods using my cell phone app as quantifier.

maybe during the very first minute after activation on a fully charged Eneloop the zebralight was brighter but after that the olight took over, yeah! The longer the run on the max mode was, the clearer it became that the S1A was the brighter light. even though comparison was being complicated by the gross difference in tint and beam profile/pattern, like comparing apples and oranges, to me and my app it was clear enough that the olight was the brighter light from very early on cha.

i leave it to professional reviewers to graph the S1A SS performance in the same chart as SC52 L2 (or SC52w L2) for a direct comparison on paper. in any case i am herewith asserting that the S1A beats the SC52 L2 with regard to performance, i.e. runtime and efficiency. and i shouldn't care if the assertion is true or wrong, i own both lights so it doesn't matter which the better light is. it's always better to own them all, then i can stop caring about comparisons and move on.

Other notable AA/14500 lights with kickbutt brightness and efficiencies are:
- Manker T01 xp-l hi pocket thrower
- Klarus Mi7 xp-l hi, Manker E11 xp-l pseudo edc
- Zebralight SC5 xm-l2
- Olight S1A xm-l2
- Eagtac D25A Clicky Ti xp-g2, xm-l2, xp-l hi, nichia, a. o.

except for the Smini and S1, i am not fond of the Baton series esthetic design but i respect that it has been a huge and very lucky success for the company. it must have hit the nerve when the very first baton light came out, afaik in 2011, over 5 years ago. the S1A SS lacks a lockout method, mechanical nor electrical lockout is possible, and the light is too heavy anyway for pocket carry but i like owning it, it feels/looks special the thunder gray stainless steel, the extraordinary weight (103g incl. 1 Eneloop AA), the non-greenish CW tint is super likable, and with this post, the efficiency appears top of the game, too. there are several S1A reviews on the WWW/youtube but none of them in professional-like quality with runtime graph comparisons.

from what i can tell, the S1A SS is an extraordinary performer. One reason more to keep the light. Lovely stuff!!
 
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moldyoldy

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+1 wrt the Zebralight SC52 vs the S1A.

My usage in the US or Germany has evolved to shelving the SC52 and carrying the S1A. I pack the 1-cell XTAR charger ANT MC1 Plus for compact travel.

Besides which the SC52 with a Zebralight 14500 demonstrates a severe voltage & output drop in sub-freezing weather. to the point that the SC52 with a Zebralight 14500 (light green color), will actually trip off the protection in 5 deg F weather if the SC52 is on H1. I am very unappreciative of any light/cell combo that trips off with no warning when the cell still had a reasonable charge level at room temp (15-20C). I expect a warning of low battery, at least via reduced output if not some blinky LED.

There is no trip-off with the XTAR 14500 or the Keeppower 14500 cells, both of which continue to function as expected, including on H1. noting also that the Keepower 14500 is really too long for the SC52. The XTAR 14500 fits the SC52 fine, just as correctly as the Zebralight 14500.
 

kreisl

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Originally the SC52 doesn't have reverse polarity protection, neither electrical, electronic, physical, nor mechanical. Today i added mechanical reverse polarity protection by way of a plastic spacer. Very simple mod, highly recommended. I've documented it in the SC52 owner's thread, hope this helps, cheers!
 
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