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  1. #1
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    retailers: DX, shining beam, SB, Kai, etc

    skip to post #18: Romisen, Ultrafire, or Solarforce?

    I would like to pick up some flashlights for general use and night trail riding. I will probably end up getting two or three 18650 LED torches with rechargeable batteries and a charger. It seems that the cheapest retailer is DX but the durability of their products might be questionable. Are any of the products on similar retailers comparable? there are plenty of threads about what lights to buy, although I am still confused with all those choices, but I don't want to waste my time/money on inferior products. are Ultrafire products really that bad or is that just snobbery?

    so far I have discovered DX, Shining Beam, Light Hound, SB Flashlights, Kaidomain, and maybe a few others. candlelight forums has been useful as well, but I feel lost among all these choices.
    Last edited by mack_turtle; 12-28-2010 at 06:05 PM.

  2. #2
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    Only buy from DX if you are willing to wait and wait and wait some more. I ordered a bunch of stuff from them 49 days ago they supposedly shipped 39 days ago and it is lost in space right now and I hear that this is very common with them.
    I always type in bold cuz I'm blind as a bat
    For the Rich there is therapy!!!! for the rest of us we have Mountain Biking


  3. #3
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    everyone seems to like those Romisen lights that Shining Beam sells, but they don't sell any batteries?
    Last edited by mack_turtle; 12-27-2010 at 02:23 PM.

  4. #4
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    Having ordered from all but shiningbeam, I'd order them like this (highest preference first):

    Lighthound
    SBFlashlights
    Kaidomain
    Dealextreme

    I'd order from all of them again, but if I want something quickly, I go with lighthound. Lighthound also tends to carry proven stuff.

    DX can take forever, so can Kaidomain. Quality of products from DX can be a crapshoot.

    SBFlashlights has had reasonable shipping times for me and communicated effectively when they knew something would take a bit.

    Having purchased way too many 18650 lights over the past few years, I would now just order a couple Solarforce hosts from lighthound. I'd probably pick up an XPG-R5 drop-in from there also and maybe an XML drop-in from Kaidomain. As a matter of fact, the light in my pocket right now, and my current go to light, is a Solarforce L2 from Lighthound, with an XML drop-in from Kai.
    baker

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by baker
    Having ordered from all but shiningbeam, I'd order them like this (highest preference first):

    Lighthound
    SBFlashlights
    Kaidomain
    Dealextreme

    I'd order from all of them again, but if I want something quickly, I go with lighthound. Lighthound also tends to carry proven stuff.

    DX can take forever, so can Kaidomain. Quality of products from DX can be a crapshoot.

    SBFlashlights has had reasonable shipping times for me and communicated effectively when they knew something would take a bit.

    Having purchased way too many 18650 lights over the past few years, I would now just order a couple Solarforce hosts from lighthound. I'd probably pick up an XPG-R5 drop-in from there also and maybe an XML drop-in from Kaidomain. As a matter of fact, the light in my pocket right now, and my current go to light, is a Solarforce L2 from Lighthound, with an XML drop-in from Kai.
    Lighthound looks to have the best price on the Solarforce L2P, the very torch host I've been eye-balling as of late. Can you comment a little more on the L2P and/or compare it to another P-60 host? Any feed back about how well it works would be welcome. It is one nice looking host. I'm almost ready to pull the trigger on it since I need a new host for the XM-L. What P-60's have you used with the L2 and are you satisfied with the thermal transference. ...In a nut shell....does it rock?

  6. #6
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    I am new to this, so what parts do i need to buy to build a light? host, drop-in, and battery? anything else?

    how much is involved in assembling one of these lights, just put it together or is there any soldering involved?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle
    I am new to this, so what parts do i need to buy to build a light? host, drop-in, and battery? anything else?

    how much is involved in assembling one of these lights, just put it together or is there any soldering involved?
    The stuff I was just asking baker about: That was a torch host the uses a P-60 drop-in. No soldering is needed. The drop-in is a module assembly that houses the LED, reflector and driver and slips right into the top of the torch when you unscrew the top. You can buy these with a drop-in included but it is better to just buy the host and then chose the drop-in type of your choosing. Then all you need is a battery and a charger.

    There are other kinds of torches that have a different set-up. Usually with the emitter mounted on a metal "pill" that screws into the torch. The pill houses the driver and the emitter sits on top. The reflector is separate. Some have pills you can easily remove others are not. Hope this helps.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat-man-do
    Lighthound looks to have the best price on the Solarforce L2P, the very torch host I've been eye-balling as of late. Can you comment a little more on the L2P and/or compare it to another P-60 host? Any feed back about how well it works would be welcome. It is one nice looking host. I'm almost ready to pull the trigger on it since I need a new host for the XM-L. What P-60's have you used with the L2 and are you satisfied with the thermal transference. ...In a nut shell....does it rock?
    I have an L2 and and L2m. The L2 is neat, because u can remove the body and attach the tailcap directly to the head. I purchased and extra tailcap, drilled a hole, and added an external battery lead. Now, I can use the L2 as headlamp (strapped to my helmet with velcro) or switch back to the regular tailcap/body and use for a flashlight. Oh yeah, I swapped out the "tactical" bezel for a nice stainless steel bezel on both of my Solarforce lights.

    Solarforce L2 headlamp

    Solarforce L2 headlamp

    Compared to my other hosts...the Solarforces have nice threads and a nice positive click. It has reasonable mass for dispersion of heat, but is neither a pig, nor a lightweight. Fit and finish seems better than most of the other cheap hosts I have. Out of the box thermal transfer depends on P60 drop-in dimensions, which vary from one to another. Depending on the drop-in, I have used: nothing, thin aluminum foil, think aluminum foil (like from a pie pan). I have used a variety of single XPG's, a Nailbender dual-xpg, and the Kai XML.

    18650 hosts

    L to R: Solarforce L2, MTE M3-2 (MCE), Uniquefire L2, Solarforce L2m (with 18650 extender), Ultrafire WF-502b, Uniquefire P10 R5
    baker

  9. #9
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    Quoting Baker Candlestickmaker:
    I have an L2 and and L2m. The L2 is neat, because u can remove the body and attach the tailcap directly to the head. I purchased and extra tailcap, drilled a hole, and added an external battery lead. Now, I can use the L2 as headlamp (strapped to my helmet with velcro) or switch back to the regular tailcap/body and use for a flashlight. Oh yeah, I swapped out the "tactical" bezel for a nice stainless steel bezel on both of my Solarforce lights.

    Compared to my other hosts...the Solarforces have nice threads and a nice positive click. It has reasonable mass for dispersion of heat, but is neither a pig, nor a lightweight. Fit and finish seems better than most of the other cheap hosts I have. Out of the box thermal transfer depends on P60 drop-in dimensions, which vary from one to another. Depending on the drop-in, I have used: nothing, thin aluminum foil, think aluminum foil (like from a pie pan). I have used a variety of single XPG's, a Nailbender dual-xpg, and the Kai XML.


    Wow...The Solarforce L2 looks very versatile without draining your pocketbook. Doing a mod with these looks to be a breeze, really great how the end cap also screws into the torch head. Also I like the protruding button on the end cap. This make's it easier to use on the bike. Does the KD XM-L heat up any more or less than say the NBender Dual xpg?

  10. #10
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    oops double post
    Last edited by mack_turtle; 12-25-2010 at 07:34 AM.

  11. #11
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    so I am thinking about going through Lighthound and buying:
    *two of these Solarforce's or two of these Ultrafires.

    *two drop-ins for the Solarforce's- other than the number of modes, i don't understand the differences among the different kinds of bulbs. would it be wise to buy two different kinds of drop-ins? maybe one orange peel and one reflective? what kind of drop-in would be good for a helmet light and what for a handlebar light?

    *or the Ultrafires come with XPG R5 LEDs. what am i loosing in buying the Ultrafire over the Solarforce product? it would save me a few bucks!

    *a few protected 18650 rechargeables and a charger. any recommendations on these Ultrafire batteries? any reason to buy some more expensive batteries?

    besides some mounting hardware, do I need anything else?
    i'll compare competitors' prices but it seems like Lighthound is a good place to go.
    Last edited by mack_turtle; 12-25-2010 at 09:45 AM.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle
    so I am thinking about going through Lighthound and buying:
    *two of these Solarforce's or two of these Ultrafires.

    *two drop-ins for the Solarforce's- other than the number of modes, i don't understand the differences among the different kinds of bulbs. would it be wise to buy two different kinds of drop-ins? maybe one orange peel and one reflective? what kind of drop-in would be good for a helmet light and what for a handlebar light?

    *or the Ultrafires come with XPG R5 LEDs. what am i loosing in buying the Ultrafire over the Solarforce product? it would save me a few bucks!

    *a few protected 18650 rechargeables and a charger. any recommendations on these Ultrafire batteries? any reason to buy some more expensive batteries?

    besides some mounting hardware, do I need anything else?
    i'll compare competitors' prices but it seems like Lighthound is a good place to go.
    I'll get back to you later about some of those questions. Right now I have to go do the Christmas thing.

  13. #13
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    I recently replaced my Magicshine with two flashlights from Shiningbeam. Nothing but good things to say about both Shiningbeam and the flashlights. I purchased the Romisen RC-2R4 II R5 and the Romisen RC-C8 II R2 Flood to Throw. These two lights work amazingly well together, but either one is enough light to be used on its own in most situations. With the R2's adjustable flood and the R5's throw this combination is much more customizable and adjustable, its brighter(at least as far as I remember), and more versatile than my Magicshine was. I also have two lights instead of one so if one goes out I still have another light. These two lights with two mounts, four 18650 batteries, and charger was right around $100.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by newagenomad
    I recently replaced my Magicshine with two flashlights from Shiningbeam. Nothing but good things to say about both Shiningbeam and the flashlights. I purchased the Romisen RC-2R4 II R5 and the Romisen RC-C8 II R2 Flood to Throw. These two lights work amazingly well together, but either one is enough light to be used on its own in most situations. With the R2's adjustable flood and the R5's throw this combination is much more customizable and adjustable, its brighter(at least as far as I remember), and more versatile than my Magicshine was. I also have two lights instead of one so if one goes out I still have another light. These two lights with two mounts, four 18650 batteries, and charger was right around $100.
    What mounts are you using?
    baker

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by newagenomad
    I purchased the Romisen RC-2R4 II R5 and the Romisen RC-C8 II R2 Flood to Throw.
    I am liking that combo more and more, but why does Shining Beam not sell batteries? I can order them elsewhere, but it would be nice to order everything together.

  16. #16
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    Shiningbeam does sell batteries, they sell the black trustfire 18650s.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by baker
    What mounts are you using?
    The Shiningbeam mounts.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by newagenomad
    Shiningbeam does sell batteries, they sell the black trustfire 18650s.
    they have these 16340s and these 14500s but no 18650s. tons of their lights take 18650s and they don't sell them. I emailed them with this question, i'll let you know what they say.

    I think Lighthound may be the way to go. I can order two batteries, a charger, a pair of Ultrafire 501B Cree XPG R5 or one of those and a C1 Cree XR-E Q5-WC for $82 shipped. I can manage my own mounting systems and if that fails, I'll drop a few more bucks on a better mounting system later. that seems like my best bet.

    I can't tell the difference, other than the outsides, between the C1 and the 501B though. one is supposedly brighter than the other. What's the difference between those two drop-ins? should I get two 501B's or would the C1 make a better helmet light? (I like the SS bezel!)

    or for $18 more I can get a pair of Solarforce P2's with three-mode emitters. I don't know if it's worth the extra $ for Solarforce stuff when I can get a five-mode pair cheaper.

    still more options: buy the Romisen RC-C8 II R2 and the Rominsen RC-2R4 from Shining Beam and buy lights/batteries elsewhere.

    ...

    so to simplify my question: Romisen, Ultrafire, or Solar Force?
    Last edited by mack_turtle; 12-27-2010 at 01:30 PM.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by newagenomad
    The Shiningbeam mounts.
    I bought the same thing from sbflashlights, but haven't tried on a bike yet. The diameter was too big for the light was messing with at the time, but would be better with my Solarforce hosts. I'll go into my work/junk room and see if I can find that mount.
    baker

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle
    ....so to simplify my question: Romisen, Ultrafire, or Solar Force?
    If only it were that simple. With torches there are lots of options. A lot depends on how you want to use the torches. Since you are talking about buying mounts I would guess that means you want to bar mount both (?)
    I would suggest that it might be better to mount one on the bars and one on the helmet but to each their own. I don't own a Solar Force host but I wouldn't hesitate to buy one. I do own a couple of the Ultra fire 501-B drop-in hosts. It might be easier to mount the 501-B to the helmet because the head of the 501-b looks smaller than the SF. Then again it might not make a difference and the SF might be a better all-around host. (?) Since this is your first torch purchase I wouldn't sweat it as you try to get everything right the first time. That's likely not going to happen. The real choice will be in choosing what drop-in's to use. That will depend on just how you plan on using the torches.

  21. #21
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    i plan to put one on my helmet and one on my handlebar. that's why have been eyeing the Romisens: one has a wider beam for the handlebars and the other has more throw for the helmet.

  22. #22
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    Do the Lighthound Solarforce hosts include the lens or must they be purchased separately ($2)?

    http://www.lighthound.com/Solar-Forc...ds_p_2426.html

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by random walk
    Do the Lighthound Solarforce hosts include the lens or must they be purchased separately ($2)?

    http://www.lighthound.com/Solar-Forc...ds_p_2426.html
    Mine was included. Just added a drop-in and battery.
    baker

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by baker
    Mine was included. Just added a drop-in and battery.
    Cool, thanks.

  25. #25
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    I feel so close to getting all this! I have devised a list of parts and prices and I can get my setup for about $80-100. the only thing holding me back from the L2 system is picking a drop-in. I am confused about voltage. Solarforce-USA sells a black complete L2 for $29.95, drop-in included. The five-, three-, and single-mode versions are even the same price. You just have to pick the drop-in. I think three modes would be enough.

    what's the difference between the 0.8-4.2v and a 4.2-8.4v drop-ins included with the L2 from Solarforce-USA? and what about those LC-1 Cree R2 emitters? those designations, other than the brand Cree, are still gibberish to me.

    I read this page but it only further confused me. I would be using a single18650 battery at least but I probably won't put more than that in it. It would be simpler to just buy and Ultrafire or Romisen because there are fewer options there to confuse me, but it might be worth a few extra bucks to go with a more modifiable Solarforce.

    It looks like those Ultrafires take common parts like P60 drop-ins, as do the Solarforce products, but I am not sure about the Romisens that I am eyeing.

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