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Thread: Review of Nitecore MH20

  1. #1
    Flashaholic Budda's Avatar
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    Default Review of Nitecore MH20

    I received the Nitecore MH20 from Gearbest for the review
    The light comes in a cardboard and plastic box, with the ANSI specs on.
    It is one of the latest Nitecore lights, with Cree XM-L2 U2 led.

    Inside the box there is the light itself, the manual, the holster, spare orings, clip and lanyard. Inside the battery tube of the MH20 I found a silica gel.
    The overall construction is flawless. The anodization is without imperfection. The lettering is clear and easy to read.
    The MH20 is composed of 3 parts: head, body and tailcap. The head is the really distinctive part of the light: it’s bigger than the other two.




    The MH20 is a clicky light, with a 2 stage electronic switch (like the one of the cameras): it can be pressed lightly reaching thus the first stage, and can be fully depressed with more pressure, reaching the second stage. Under the cover of the switch there are two blu leds.


    On the other side of the light there is the micro usb port for charging. The light is IPX8 rated, and the usb port is protected by a rubber cover. It’s thick and flexible and it require some pressure to get into place over the micro usb port.



    Tailcap construction is simple: it holds a spring and nothing more.
    It’s flat and allows an easy tailstand, even with the lanyard in place.


    The body of the light has both threads anodized and with thick orings.



    The MH20 works with 18650, CR123 and RCR batteries. The integrated charging function works with 18650 only. The plus pole of the light has a mechanical polarity inversion safety, so no flat top 18650 in this light.


    All my 18650s fit inside the light, the inner body has a diameter of almost 19 mm.

    One the battery (18650 or 2xCR123) is inserted the leds under the switch cover will turn on and provide the voltage reading with flashes (i.e. : 3 flashes, pause, 4 flashes means 3.4 volt). This will also work with CR123, measuring the voltage between 6.4 volt (2 fully charged CR123) and 4.8 volt (2 empty CR123). I don’t have 2 RCR to see what will the reading be, and it isn’t written either on the manual.

    The MH20 has 5 constant outputs + 3 hidden signalling modes
    To turn the light on you need to fully and quickly press the switch, and the light will turn on at the last level (one of the 5 constant outputs, no memory for the signalling modes).
    The light can be turned on directly at firefly or turbo output.
    To get the firefly mode you should press the switch at the first stage for more then a second and release. To get the turbo, you should keep pressed the switch at the second stage (i.e. fully pressed) for more then a second.
    To cycle between the modes you have to press the switch to the first stage (i.e. a light press): you’ll get all the levels, including firefly and turbo.
    To turn off the light you have to fully press the switch.

    To get the signalling modes you need to have the light already on, then keep fully pressed the switch for at least a second.
    This will give you the last signalling mode you had used (it has this kind of memory.).
    To cycle between the signalling modes (strobe, SOS, beacon) you’ll need to press the switch to the first stage (i.e. a light press).
    The leds under the switch cover they can be used as locator since they flash once every 4 seconds. This locator function can be turned off by a light press of the switch (i.e. first stage) when the light is off.
    According to the manual, the light can be kept in this standby mode with the locator turned on for 12 months, and 24 months with the locator off, before draining a fully charged 18650.
    It’s always possible to physically lockout the light by untwisting one of the parts of the light.
    The ANSI levels (measured with a 18650 2600mAh battery) are: 1000 lumens (2 hours), 410 lumens (2 h 45’), 230 lumens (5h45’), 50 lumens (15h14’) and 1 lumens (235h).
    I couldn’t detect any PWM in practical use.

    The MH20 uses the ATR (advanced temperature regulation) technology to decrease automatically the output when the temperature of the inner components is too high.


    The reflector is smooth, and the glass has an anti reflex treatment.

    The bezel it is held with a lot of red threadlocker. Once opened, this is how the MH20’s head looks like.


    A few thoughts:
    The light is somehow short for the reflector size, but has a “big” head (it helds the electornic switch, the usb charging port and the drivers). This can be an issue for who wants to keep the MH20 in skinny clothes, no problem with a coat or an hoodie. Remember you also have a holster for the light, molle compatible.
    The switch cover is exposed and is not hard to find. You mount the clip in a way that it points directly to the switch, this will make the search easier in the dark, or with the gloves on. The clip will also act as an anti rolling device.
    The usb port rubber cover stays well in place: I find hard to imagine that it will come out or get entangled with something.
    I like to be able to get firefly and turbo mode when the light is off. To my CPFeye the 1 lumen moonlight is underestimated, it looks something more. But still, it’s lower than many other low level on other lights.
    The 5 output levels are well distributed and you can easily and quickly cycle them with a soft press. Signalling mode are easily to access but still don’t bother you un everyday use.
    The dual stage switch is easy to use once you get used, not for the difficulty to make a soft press rather than a full press, but for the UI that will make you turn off the light or change level when you want to do something else. After a few minutes of training, you’ll have full control of the light.

    I'm running runtime tests / luxmeter measurements, and I'll update this post.


    Here's the complete runtime test.



    The high and medium level have shorter runtime than nitecore claims.
    For the high level, you can see that exept the first 3 minutes they are very similar; according to nitecore you should have 45' more.
    For the medium level I got less than 4hours 30' and they 5 hours 45'.





    Looking at the turbo curve, it is consistent with the ansi runtime. At 1h50' the light still has 50.0% relative output. At 113 minutes, 10.3%.
    The 50 lumen curve is somewhat short. It should be around 945 minutes, but I got less then 700.


    Thanks for reading.
    Last edited by Budda; 09-13-2015 at 04:15 AM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Review of Nitecore MH20

    I have two MH20 lights and unlike the Nitecore EC4 this light can be locked out with a slight turn of the 'head'.

  3. #3
    Flashaholic Budda's Avatar
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    Default Re: Review of Nitecore MH20

    Runtime graph added.

  4. #4
    Flashaholic* CelticCross74's Avatar
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    Default Re: Review of Nitecore MH20

    MH20 is the nicest Nitecore I have yet owned or even handled. This little beast just rocks. To bad the mini USB is not waterproof like the UC35 is but the rest of the light is phenomenal. Run 3600mah 18650 in it it actually stays in turbo or close to it for a good bit esp if you wrap your hand around it for some additional heat sinking. LOVE the switch and voltage readout. My copy of the MH20 came in flawless condition. For once a Nitecore I dont end up complaining about!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Review of Nitecore MH20

    Up until the release of the Nitecore MH20 and EC4 the only Nitecore lights I use are the TM11 and TM26. I now use my Eagletac G2525C2 Mark ll and D25LC2 as back up. My D25C is still used as one of my EDC lights along with the MH20 and EC4.

  6. #6
    Flashaholic Budda's Avatar
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    Default Re: Review of Nitecore MH20

    Here's the complete runtime test.



    The high and medium level have shorter runtime than nitecore claims.
    For the high level, you can see that exept the first 3 minutes they are very similar; according to nitecore you should have 45' more.
    For the medium level I got less than 4hours 30' and they 5 hours 45'.



  7. #7
    Flashaholic* WarRaven's Avatar
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    Default Re: Review of Nitecore MH20

    Thanks for the review.
    +1
    I'm curious about the cell you tested with, is it new'ish?
    Them are harsh results.

  8. #8
    Flashaholic Budda's Avatar
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    Default Re: Review of Nitecore MH20

    @WarRaven: the cell shouldn't be of concern, since it handled the hardest challenge (the runtime of the turbo level) fine, or at least according to the sepcifictions.
    If the ANSI runtime of nitecore was tested with a 3400-3500 mAh battery, maybe then the results will be fine.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Review of Nitecore MH20

    I love my MH20. Absolutely amazing little light, especially for the $45 I bought it for. My only real complaint is that fat head can be uncomfortable to carry in a tight pocket. Maybe I've just been spoiled by my SC62w and the way that it disappears into any pocket.

    Would recommend the MH20 to anyone, particularly someone looking to get into 18650 lights. It's a great gateway flashlight.

  10. #10
    Flashaholic* WarRaven's Avatar
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    Default Re: Review of Nitecore MH20

    Good point.
    Though most use two CR123 at 1500 mah, or one 18650 at 2600 mah for ansi.
    Fenix does, Olight etc...
    They have good run times ansi rated on a 2600, no need for a 3400 to meet other OEM run times.
    This is not efficient at lower levels.
    Mh20 rated at 9-10 days on one lumen, my Olight Baton, 50 days on one lumen.
    Still love the light.

    Using 3400 would only get it nearer to other 18650 using a 2600 it seems.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Review of Nitecore MH20

    All my 18650 are either 3100mAh or 3400mAh and were bought in groups of ten or more and are Keeppower or Eagletac brands. I use them on all my lights that include high out put Nitecore TM's and other high out put single and double 18650 flashlights. I find it easier for me to keep 18650's at near the same mAh rating.

  12. #12

    Thumbs up Re: Review of Nitecore MH20

    Hey great review.This is the first time I am seeing mh20's bezel being removed.Can you please tell how you removed it without any scratches??

  13. #13
    Flashaholic Budda's Avatar
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    Default Re: Review of Nitecore MH20

    I locked the head inside a vise with some wood to not mark the light; the head of the light is not circoular, and so will not roll.
    I covered the rest of the head with heat reflecting tape (on the lights with rubber on the head, too much heat can be a problem).
    Once in place, I used a heatgun on the lowest settings for a few seconds, all around the bezel. Then I used a jar opener, one of these.
    I did this process many times, and then the bezel slowly came off.
    But it was hard even for the method I was using due to the aboundant red threadlocker used to secure it.
    Last edited by Budda; 09-13-2015 at 04:18 AM.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Review of Nitecore MH20

    Quote Originally Posted by Budda View Post
    I locked the head inside a vise with some wood to not mark the light; the head of the light is not circoular, and so will not roll.
    I covered the rest of the head with heat reflecting tape (on the lights with rubber on the head, too much heat can be a problem).
    Once in place, I used a heatgun on the lowest settings for a few seconds, all around the bezel. Then I used a jar opener, one of these.
    I did this process many times, and then the bezel slowly came off.
    But it was hard even for the method I was using due to the aboundant red threadlocker used to secure it.
    As I have posted before I have two MH20's and both heads rotated quite easily for lock out. This is quite strange.

  15. #15
    Flashaholic* WarRaven's Avatar
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    Default Re: Review of Nitecore MH20

    Sidecross, I believe you are thinking about lock out, where as the post you quoted is about removing bezel to get access to reflector in the head itself.

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    Default Re: Review of Nitecore MH20

    Quote Originally Posted by WarRaven View Post
    Sidecross, I believe you are thinking about lock out, where as the post you quoted is about removing bezel to get access to reflector in the head itself.
    Thank you, I was again 'sleeping at the wheel' which, at my age of 71, is much to frequent.

  17. #17
    Flashaholic* WarRaven's Avatar
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    Default Re: Review of Nitecore MH20

    Oh do not worry there friend, we got you ☺
    +1

  18. #18
    Flashaholic* WarRaven's Avatar
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    Default Re: Review of Nitecore MH20

    Hope you don't mind Budda.

    I meant to post here initially.
    http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/....php?p=4735802
    Thoughts anyone?

  19. #19

    Default Re: Review of Nitecore MH20

    My main criticism of the MH20 is its runtime at "50 lumens". A true 50-70 lumens is a kind of "Goldilocks" level which combines excellent runtime with plenty of light for many uses. Unfortunately, I have found that the MH20's 50 lumens is more like 100+ lumens. WarRaven estimates it at 120 lumens. (See his link above)

    By comparison, the Nitecore P12's true 70 lumens (Selfbuilt) gives you 28 hours, nearly twice the runtime of the MH20's "50 lumens". Nitecore's mislabeling is puzzling. Could it be an attempt to boost sales? To the uninitiated, the MH20 may seem brighter than other lights at the "same" lumen settings, an impossibility that non-CPF'ers might not grasp.

    I'll admit to some frustration about this. I was hoping to make the MH20 my EDC, but may end up with the longer,(but slimmer) P12.

    Brightnorm
    Last edited by brightnorm; 09-19-2015 at 02:18 PM.

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    Default Re: Review of Nitecore MH20

    Quote Originally Posted by WarRaven View Post
    Hope you don't mind Budda.

    I meant to post here initially.
    http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/....php?p=4735802
    Thoughts anyone?

    Thank you for your link.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Review of Nitecore MH20

    Quote Originally Posted by brightnorm View Post
    My main criticism of the MH20 is its runtime at "50 lumens". A true 50-70 lumens is a kind of "Goldilocks" level which combines excellent runtime with plenty of light for many uses. Unfortunately, I have found that the MH20's 50 lumens is more like 100+ lumens. WarRaven estimates it at 120 lumens. (See his link above)

    By comparison, the Nitecore P12's true 70 lumens (Selfbuilt) gives you 28 hours, nearly twice the runtime of the MH20's "50 lumens". Nitecore's mis-labeling is puzzling. Could it be an attempt to boost sales? To the uninitiated, the MH20 may seem brighter than other lights at the "same" lumen settings, an impossibility that non-CPF'ers might not grasp.

    I'll admit to some frustration about this. I was hoping to make the MH20 my EDC, but may end up with the longer,(but slimmer) P12.

    Brightnorm

    I agree with what you have written but I do use the MH20 now as my EDC. My second choice would be my Eagletac G25C2 MKii. But for everyday the MH20 is much easier to carry.

  22. #22
    Flashaholic* WarRaven's Avatar
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    Default Re: Review of Nitecore MH20

    I agree mostly too, though built in USB charger relieves some stress.
    Yes I still feel it's cranking out the lumens, at least we've an idea of that here on CPF.

  23. #23
    Flashaholic* WarRaven's Avatar
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    Default Re: Review of Nitecore MH20

    OK, I'm wondering...
    Anyone running their MH20 on RCR123 or 18350?

    Then of course next question, any notable difference other then minutes of run time?

    Could probably use it to thaw frozen door locks in a pinch, idk 🔥

  24. #24

    Default Re: Review of Nitecore MH20

    I love to try this light, but it can't use flat top 18650 ? Hum..... all my 18650's are unprotected Panasonic 3100

  25. #25
    Flashaholic* akhyar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Review of Nitecore MH20

    You can always drop a blop of solder on top of your unprotected cell if you know how to do it, or get a small magnet that can attach to the flat top cell +ve connection. My local flashlight dealer sells the magnet for about $1/pc or you can buy it online

  26. #26
    Flashaholic Budda's Avatar
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    Default Re: Review of Nitecore MH20

    Quote Originally Posted by WarRaven View Post
    Hope you don't mind Budda.

    I meant to post here initially.
    http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/....php?p=4735802
    Thoughts anyone?
    I don't own a lightbox, but what I did is measuring the lux at a fixed distance from the light, and then comparing the number. This is what I got
    1,00%
    10,00%
    32,00%
    54,00%
    100,00%

    What you got is: 100%, 62.5%, 40%, 10%, 1%.
    I used a ET 2500mAh, if you used an IMR or a low internal resistance cell, your results may be explainable.

    I have recently acquired a good luxmeter, I'll redo this test with it also using a fresh cell.

  27. #27
    Flashaholic* WarRaven's Avatar
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    Default Re: Review of Nitecore MH20

    Quote Originally Posted by Budda View Post
    I don't own a lightbox, but what I did is measuring the lux at a fixed distance from the light, and then comparing the number. This is what I got
    1,00%
    10,00%
    32,00%
    54,00%
    100,00%

    What you got is: 100%, 62.5%, 40%, 10%, 1%.
    I used a ET 2500mAh, if you used an IMR or a low internal resistance cell, your results may be explainable.

    I have recently acquired a good luxmeter, I'll redo this test with it also using a fresh cell.
    Right on, I'm so looking forward to your results.
    Mine could be skewered from higher CD is my thought, but run times kind of back my thoughts on outputs.
    That is not factual by any means, but what I'm believing.
    I'm toying between two cells, both 3200, one is lmr other is protected. I did get higher readings on lmr, but figured it's my set up not being consistent.

    +1 for looking into this.
    Cheers☺

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Review of Nitecore MH20

    Since side switches is notoriously difficult to find in the dark quickly, can the side button locator blink function be kept on all the time whenever I turn the light off or do I have to do something to make it work each time I'm about to turn the light off?
    life's big questions/answers here:
    http://www.answersingenesis.org/home/area/qa.asp
    "So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God." Romans 14:12

  29. #29
    Flashaholic Budda's Avatar
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    Default Re: Review of Nitecore MH20

    I broke my MH20, but If I remember correctly, you have to do a short half press each time you turn the light off.
    I find side switches easy to find, especially if aligned with the clip.

  30. #30
    Flashaholic* CelticCross74's Avatar
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    Default Re: Review of Nitecore MH20

    2x16340 or 18350 should work. The manual does say it accepts 2x16340's so hmmmm....now I am eyeballing my 2 fresh red Efest 18350's. I tried regular CR123's and boy did the light get hot fast

    Just stuck 2 freshly charged red 800mah Efest 18350's into it and so far it has not burst into flames etc. Will really have to wait for nightfall but output does seem up
    Last edited by CelticCross74; 07-23-2016 at 12:26 PM.

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