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  1. #1
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    Review: SolarStorm X6 (4x XM-L2 T6 NW version from KD)

    I've got the light yesterday from Kaidomain. I've got the head only:

    Name:  635707750082322123_med.jpg
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    http://www.kaidomain.com/product/details.S024229
    Already done teardown and some beam comparations.

    First impressions

    The light is not small and there would easily fit 7 leds not just 4. If you compare it with BT40s there is quite some difference:
    Review: SolarStorm X6 (4x XM-L2 T6 NW version from KD)-p1060937.jpg
    The size resulting in bigger optics and therefore tighter beam. Beamshoot comparation at high mode to the BT40s shows X6 has more spotty beam and very few side spill, but more throw - X6 vs BT40s:
    Review: SolarStorm X6 (4x XM-L2 T6 NW version from KD)-p1060967.jpg
    Review: SolarStorm X6 (4x XM-L2 T6 NW version from KD)-p1060965.jpg
    For more comparation here are MJ880 clone, new Geniue NW SSX2 and KD2 all in Neutral White (all in stock setup):
    Review: SolarStorm X6 (4x XM-L2 T6 NW version from KD)-p1060968.jpg
    Review: SolarStorm X6 (4x XM-L2 T6 NW version from KD)-p1060969.jpg
    Review: SolarStorm X6 (4x XM-L2 T6 NW version from KD)-p1060970.jpg
    On the road - X6 vs BT40s:
    Review: SolarStorm X6 (4x XM-L2 T6 NW version from KD)-p1060979.jpg
    Review: SolarStorm X6 (4x XM-L2 T6 NW version from KD)-p1060980.jpg
    Both on full:
    Review: SolarStorm X6 (4x XM-L2 T6 NW version from KD)-p1060981.jpg

    Internals:

    Back side is fixed with hex screws:
    Review: SolarStorm X6 (4x XM-L2 T6 NW version from KD)-p1060987.jpg
    Internals in the back side:
    Review: SolarStorm X6 (4x XM-L2 T6 NW version from KD)-p1060992.jpg
    Closeup picture of a driver:
    Review: SolarStorm X6 (4x XM-L2 T6 NW version from KD)-p1060991a.jpg
    Wires are quite thin, no markings about AWG size.

    Front side is using retension ring with big o-ring under it:
    Review: SolarStorm X6 (4x XM-L2 T6 NW version from KD)-p1060995.jpg
    Lenses comes out easily:
    Review: SolarStorm X6 (4x XM-L2 T6 NW version from KD)-p1060996.jpg
    Lenses are 50mm on diameter:
    Review: SolarStorm X6 (4x XM-L2 T6 NW version from KD)-p1070005.jpg
    Leds PCB is screwed down at two points and it can be seen leds are connected in 2S2P setup:
    Review: SolarStorm X6 (4x XM-L2 T6 NW version from KD)-p1070001.jpg
    PCB is about 2mm thick and it sitting on the small lip without thermal paste (of course), but it is screwed down, at least:
    Review: SolarStorm X6 (4x XM-L2 T6 NW version from KD)-p1070004.jpg

    Current/modes used - Lo, Mid, Hi, strobe is hidden:
    Review: SolarStorm X6 (4x XM-L2 T6 NW version from KD)-p1070006.jpgReview: SolarStorm X6 (4x XM-L2 T6 NW version from KD)-p1070008.jpgReview: SolarStorm X6 (4x XM-L2 T6 NW version from KD)-p1070009.jpgReview: SolarStorm X6 (4x XM-L2 T6 NW version from KD)-p1070010.jpg
    Those pictures are for reference only and not highly accurate because of some voltage drop over the connectors and wires. Besides I've been using an old 2S3P battery pack. You can notice the status leds are changed at each mode. Mode spacing calculated from this is bit odd: 25%, 56%, 100%.

    After analyzing driver there can be seen LEDA chip and two R25 sense resistors (R8, R9). Given that LEDA chip has 0.25V feedback voltage and sense resistance is 0.125Ohm (two .25 Ohm in parallel) I can assume 0.25/0.125 = 2A to the leds. Since they are in 2S2P setup each led can get 1A of current. This is pretty much low and it can be changed by adding some resistor over existing ones.

    And forgot to mention it has SolarStorm type of connector.

    Verdict

    + XM-L2 Neutral White (T6 3C) leds
    + uses optics instead of reflectors
    + nice looking
    + waterproof (hopefully, did not check it)
    + hidden strobe


    - to thin wires to the light and to the leds (might be sufficient for the stock power)
    - to big for 4 leds only
    - almost no side spill (will see about this after altering the power)
    - no fins for heat dissipation
    - no thermal compound used (tipical for most low priced lights)
    - mode spacing could be better, but aint bad

    There might be some corrections in the future. I might add some descriptions after modding and add things that are missing. Also verdict can be corrected.

    Things to do:
    - Not have chance to check thermal behaviour, so this is yet to be seen... By Kaidomain represenative it should have thermal protection, but I haven't check it on the driver.
    - Weight
    - ...
    Last edited by ledoman; 3 Weeks Ago at 03:03 AM.

  2. #2
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    Is the top on the road one the x6?

  3. #3
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    Yes, I've added note on the top of pictures to be more clear.

  4. #4
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    What do the led's mount on? Is it similar to how the led on the the BT40s mount?

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    Wait to see complete review......

  6. #6
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    Interesting review; thanks ledoman!

    It looks to me like LED base doesn't have thermal contact with outer case at all, so this light will be added to my personal "black list"...

  7. #7
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    Damn it solar storm strikes again!!! Just a lip all the way around and that's it for thermal transfer to the case. That's what im seeing in the pics anyway.

    Means heavy modding to get good thermal contact. At its current driver set up shouldn't be a huge issue (with some thermal paste) but will become huge problem if you try to drive the emitters harder.
    Trek Marlin 29er

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  8. #8
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    @Archie you are wrong. It is hard to see the lip on my pictures, though. EDIT: calculated lip area assuming 2mm wide lip, including screwing part there should be surface about 170mm2. Not that much....

    @ Tigris99, since there is plenty room behind the PCB it shouldn't be hard to add some copper disc. Othewise you are right. At stock power it is sufficient just to add thermal compound. On the other hand the perimeter is quite big and leds are near the lips so the thermal transfer is not so bad as it seems. I'm shure it can stands 1.5A to the leds ie. 50% more than stock. All in all the housing doesn't have sufficient area (no cooling fins) to raise the current to the leds potential. Also cabling should be changed in that case. Maybe this one is good for you as an addon to get more throw. Bigger lenses makes it better for the long range beam.
    Last edited by ledoman; 3 Weeks Ago at 02:55 AM.

  9. #9
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    Thanks ledoman!

    a quick summary:
    1. thin wires to the LEDs (can be upgradeable)
    2. underpowered light (can be modified)
    3. bigger than BT40S
    4. tighter beam than BT40S
    5. suspicious thermal contact, but might be sufficient
    6. neutral XM-L2 in 2S2P

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by ledoman View Post
    @Archie you are wrong. It is hard to see the lip on my pictures, though. EDIT: calculated lip area assuming 2mm wide lip, including screwing part there should be surface about 170mm2. Not that much....
    For ~50mm base with four LEDs, that 2mm edge contact is essentially the same as nothing. As there's currently plenty of other Chinese lights with proper thermal management design, I see no point buying this one and perform heavy modifications...

  11. #11
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    Thanks for the review ledoman. I agree with Archie; no point in buying this one to perform heavy mods to it when there are known good lights, also available in lighthead only, that don't cost much more.

    -Garry

  12. #12
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    Same garbage heat sinking as that previous Solarstorm 4 led light. I think it was called the XT40. I didn't buy that one either.

    1.69 A on high, that's less than the Solarstorm X2! Why even bother.

    Thanks for the review ledoman.

  13. #13
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    Varider, ignoring the heat issue your missing the point of lights like this.

    Less current to an led the more efficient. So more light and less heat. 4 emitters at 1A each puts out a fair bit more light than 2 emitters at 2A each.
    Trek Marlin 29er

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  14. #14
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    I doubt your logic.

    More current through each emitter means more light. Here's a screenshot from the xm-l2 datasheet:

    Review: SolarStorm X6 (4x XM-L2 T6 NW version from KD)-xml2-output-function-current.png

    It's a nearly linear curve. More current means more light if the junction temperature is kept the same. If the curve dipped near the high current area than there would be an advantage to putting less current through each emitter and using more emitters. This is not the case however. There is no advantage to running less current through each emitter.

    Since this light has poor heat sinking the junction temperature could become too hot and the luminous flux, i.e. the amount of light, will actually become less according to this graph.

    Review: SolarStorm X6 (4x XM-L2 T6 NW version from KD)-flux-vs.-junction-temp.png

    Higher junction temperature means less light output if the current is kept constant. Since this light bad heat sinking, i.e. high thermal resistance, the junction temperature may become too hot and the X6 will put out less light than it could have if it were properly designed.

    Obviously, the actual junction temperature under operation depends on the amount of heat removal and the current running through each emitter. It could be that the case removes just enough heat to actually keep the junction temperature low and the light is completely functional as it's shipped.

    The only way this light could be brighter, in terms of total lumens, is if the driver with the 4 led model has a more efficient driver than the driver that is shipped with with 2 led model.

    However, since the current draw of this light is less than than the 2 led version, I highly doubt that 4 led model has more total lumen output. That's not to say that the output of the 4 led model might not look different, because it has different optics than the 2 led model.

  15. #15
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    Varider its not logic its prove faxt and very easy to see in all of cree's graphs. And I said IGNORING the crappy heat sinking (which for emitters at 1A each this isn't a big deal). Your not reading any of the graphs correctly and not combining the information correctly. No disrespect or anything wait for the other guys to chime in on this is well. But ask the same questions in candlepower forums and blf, you'll get the same answer you just got from me. And those guys deal with this stuff for a living.



    Emitters are more efficient at lower current. They produce more light vs generated heat than at higher currents. The more current pushed through an emitter the more is wasted as heat instead of lumens. Just look at the graphs you posted. Hotter they get, less light. More current means more heat, less current, less heat
    Trek Marlin 29er

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  16. #16
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    No.

    I just showed you the relevant figures from the xm-l2 data sheet.

    Light output increases as current goes up if the junction temperature is kept constant. It's that's simple.

  17. #17
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    No its NOT that simple. Output is on a curve and heat cannot be kept constant in any real world application. Im not saying that 1 amp generates more lumens than 2 amps. Im saying led creates more lumens per watt at lower current than it does at higher current, thus more efficient.





    http://budgetlightforum.com/node/19331





    That's all I need to say. Doing the math of 2 emitters at 2amps vs 4 at 1 amp, you end up with roughly 200 more lumens



    PS: Yes im sad I know, I have that on bookmark, use it for referencing for base output of lights vs claims lol
    Trek Marlin 29er

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  18. #18
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    The figures you linked to go out to 5 amps! Between zero and 3 amps the relationship is nearly linear just like the cree data sheet. Over 3 amps it drops off, but none of the cree graphs go over 3 Amps, probably because they don't want you to run more than 3 amps.

  19. #19
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    Not even going to keep discussing this, ill let the other guys chime in and tell you the same things I just did.
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    I don't have a clue on these numbers, but I do own an XT40 and a few SSX2's and the XT40 blows them out of the water. My favorite helmet light I have. Don't even care about the heatsinking, I still love the XT40. Never had a problem with it overheating. Plenty of light on medium and then crank it up to high on the descents. Worked all winter and in the rain with no problems.

    Thanks for the review, looks like I will say with the XT40 until something significantly better comes around.

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    Yeah, maybe it's not as linear as I thought it was.

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    Quote Originally Posted by varider View Post
    Yeah, maybe it's not as linear as I thought it was.
    Tigris99 is on the money. 2 XM-L2 on 2 Amps are less efficient (lumen per Watt) than 4 XM-L2 on 1 Amp. See the chart from CREE calc where the left column shows 2 U2 XM-L2s using 0.15-2A and the right one shows 4 XM-L2s @25C - there is about 200lm difference:

    Review: SolarStorm X6 (4x XM-L2 T6 NW version from KD)-xml2.jpg

    Quote Originally Posted by dawgman25 View Post
    Thanks for the review, looks like I will say with the XT40 until something significantly better comes around.
    I'd say BT70 for ~$30 came better around ;-)

  23. #23
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    Damn just math in my head looking at graphs and I was about right on lumens.....i spend entirely too much time reading and learning this stuff, lol.
    Trek Marlin 29er

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    That's a helpful site.

    Looking at that chart on the left column (2 led) and I go to a current of 2 amps and it says 1658 lumens. Then you go right column (4 led) and to the 1.0 amp row and it says 1868 lumens. So that's a 210 lumen difference.

    210/1658=0.126

    So the 4 led version at 1 amp is 13% brighter versus a 2 led version running at 2amp (per emitter).

    If I remember right, the Solarstorm X2 draws 1.9 amps from the battery, while this 4 led light draws 1.69 amps. So the new light draws 11% less current than the X2.

    Seems like those two things would basically cancel each other out, and you end up with about the same light output from both lights. Or am I wrong again?

    Like I said in my first post: Why even bother

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by MK96 View Post
    Tigris99 is on the money. 2 XM-L2 on 2 Amps are less efficient (lumen per Watt) than 4 XM-L2 on 1 Amp. See the chart from CREE calc where the left column shows 2 U2 XM-L2s using 0.15-2A and the right one shows 4 XM-L2s @25C - there is about 200lm difference:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I'd say BT70 for ~$30 came better around ;-)
    Touche. With that, I need better batteries to run it from the sounds of it. Plus, it is neutral and all of my other lights are matching cool white. I am sure the neutral is easier on the eyes, but the cooler white hasn't bothered me.

    So then I need to spend $40 on some Hulk batteries (which I probalby should do anyways) or $60 more for the kit, and then get a matching helmet light, so $100 to upgrade the 10 other lights I have!

    I wonder how much of a difference a bt21 on the helmet with spot optics and a BT70 on the bars would make compared to an XT40 on the helmet and a Yinding on the bars. If it is a 10% upgrade, probably not worth $100, but who knows. I like my setup, so I probably shouldn't even be reading this stuff!

    I am sure there will be some pretty cool lights coming out over the next few months as it starts to get darker. Thanks for all of the helpful info here.

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