User Review: Xeccon S-12 ( Cree U2 )
Hi folks. It seems my constant blathering about wanting a light for the helmet that can supply tons of throw have finally gotten some attention. I was asked weeks ago by Leonard from MagicShineAU ( now also with mtbRevolution.com ) if I would be interested in reviewing one of the new lights being released by Xeccon. After some discussion it was decided that I could review the new version of the Xeccon S-12 with Cree U2 emitter.
Just so there is no controversy a clip from one of my posts a couple weeks ago :
The S-12 is a very simple and basic light system. As such I will try to keep the review simple and to the point. First I want to use the lamp and report my observations. That's why I am calling this a "user review". Photo's and technical data are nice to have but how the lamp performs in the field is my primary focus.
..I have received the Xeccon S-12 from Xeccon for the purpose of doing an impartial user review. No money was paid for the light set. I have not been asked to return the lamp when the review is over. I do not work or receive any compensation for doing the review other than keeping the light ( If I chose to do so ) If Xeccon chooses to request the lamp back when I am done I will comply with the request.
When I am ready I will post a separate thread for the review. The review will be very basic. I will compare it to a couple lamps and torches that I use for helmet duties. There will be no tear-down of the lamp or battery. There will be some beam shot photos but not many. Since I feel that any lamp might have to withstand some rain I will give it a quick 15 min. splash down some time during the review. As per my other review(s), if anything goes wrong I will report it as such.
First a photo of the S-12, ( borrowed from other sources, sorry having problems with my camera )
My initial observations concerning the build of the light head: Looks solid for a Chinese built light. The front of the lamp is sealed to prevent water ingress. The body has open ports on both sides of the lamp that exposes the internal heat sink/reflector housing. Underneath the housing is one small hole which I suppose is there for drainage should water enter through the side ports. ( more on that later ). The wire exits the lamp head from the front. Personally I see no problem with this but others don't like this for some reason so I thought I'd mention it. There is some machining on the back of the lamp to aid in heat dissipation. The lamp uses a simple O-ring for mounting purposes, all basic stuff.
There is one feature of the lamp head that I feel that needs to be pointed out because it will have much to do with my review. That is the reflector/heat sink/ front glass assembly. Much will be said about this set up later but for now I will just say that it is unique as far as your typical single emitter Chinese made lamp goes. From what I can tell the reflector has been designed to provide maximum throw from the single XM-L emitter. **Adding and maximizing the throw is the design of the front lens which from my observation appears to focus and culminate the beam pattern. Here is a picture that I took of the front of the lamp. When you look directly into the front you can't help but notice that there appears to be distortion very similar to what you see when you use a magnifying lens. If true it is a very unique design to say the least. The effect is that the beam of the lamp throws much further than any other single emitter lamp I have seen.
This review is going to be a "In progress" review. I will be adding more data as I go along. There will be a "Water/rain " test as well as a lux comparison to other lamps that I have. I will also try to do a current ( amp ) reading as well but I need some stuff from radio shack first before I can do that. All good stuff hopefully. Last but not least I'd like to do some beam shots. The problem is I don't have a really good camera that can capture light at the distance that the S-12 can throw but I will try.
Anyway, enough for my initial entry post. Coming up, my observations from my initial "Shine around" with the S-12. Time for me to get some dinner, maybe do some more posting later tonight.
( **This statement was found to be incorrect and was corrected in a later post )
Last edited by Cat-man-do; 09-03-2012 at 12:02 AM.
S-12: The Initial Shine around
Two weekends have passed since I first received the S-12. Unfortunately my work schedule and the weather on the weekends have not been helping me. Still I was persistent at finding places to give this light a try.
The biggest problem was finding a dark area that was long enough to properly demonstrate the throw. Last weekend I used the lamp on one of my local trails but unfortunately once again the trail was wet and the dirt as black as coal dust, not to mention the high humidity that helped cut down the throw. Still I was impressed at how well the S-12 was working even in less than optimal conditions.
One of the first things I noticed about the S-12 was how well the mode operation work. Now before I continue I have to admit that I have never been a fan of simple H-L-Flash-off mode drivers and that is exactly what the S-12 has. Usually low on these set-ups completely suck and I absolutely hate having to cycle through the flash mode. Still I was amazed at well the S-12 was working. Since I usually only use high mode 90% of the time anyway on the helmet I figured I could likely get by with just the high mode. Much to my surprise I found the low mode to be more than adequate for general cruising ( used with a combo bar lamp at similar setting ).
Another plus factor was the nice feel of the switch. I was very pleased with the positive feel of the switch. When you push on it the switch makes a nice audible click and is very nimble. This is important because the S-12 has 4 modes...H-L-Flash-off. You can also push and hold for off as well. Personally I'm not a fan of "push and hold" but hey, what choice is there unless you include it with the steady modes. Well...that is exactly what the S-12 does only it gives you a choice of both. I was surprised to find out that having both flash and off in the mode cycle is not the problem I thought it would be. That is because the switch itself is so nimble and gives great positive feedback. I found that I could rapid-fire through the unwanted modes quicker than a cat jumps a bowl of tuna. Really, I'm not kidding. I can click-off three modes on the S-12 faster than I can "push and hold to off " on any bike light I own. It might take some practice to get used to but it works. I can cycle through the modes so fast that you never even know one of the modes is off.
Some more about the low setting on the S-12. I was so impressed with the low mode that I had to compare it with something else just to make sure I wasn't seeing things. During my ride I switched off to a Magicshine 808E and used it on "mid range". Surprisingly the S-12 ( low ) compared very well to the 808E on medium with the 808E having a slightly wider beam pattern. The S-12 on the other hand had a better hot spot with about the same amount of reach ( roughly 100ft. ) in it's lowest mode. Over all not as bright as the 808E on medium but it was so close you could barely tell the difference.
Now once you turn the S-12 on high that is when things get interesting. Although I really haven't had a chance to do a comparison with the 808E, judging from memory of how well the 808E has done in the past, the S-12 looks as though it has almost twice the throw of the 808E. Jury still out on that though till I get a chance to do a side by side test.
Friday night after I got off work I went down to one of the local school football/soccer ( multi-use ) field. Standing at one of the corners I shone the light across the field toward one of the soccer goals on the far side of the field. It lit the soccer goal up like you wouldn't believe. Sorry, didn't think to try the MS out. I was just blown out of my socks and wasn't thinking. To be on the safe side I'm gonna have to do some measurements just to be sure. U.S. football fields are 300ft. long. I'm not sure where that soccer goal was set up but it looked dang far away. I'll get back to you when I get the distance confirmed.
Some thoughts on the beam pattern of the S-12. First, I love the beam pattern. It is a nice confined beam pattern, not too spotty and not too wide. At 60 ft. it will illuminate the width of a trail about ten foot wide. At that point the further out you aim it the wider it gets. Still it keeps the beam tight enough to really light things up at distance. If I had to compare it with something else I own I would say the beam pattern is very close to what my Lumen8R ( quad Cree XR-E ) lamp puts out. The Lumen8R could throw about 200ft. and was my longest throwing helmet lamp to date. If the S-12 ends up out throwing the L8R someone will have to wire my jaw up to keep it from dropping off my face.
Like I said before though, jury still out on that till I can get the weather to cooperate long enough for me to do some side by side comparisons.
Am I missing something, or is this not a clone of the Bikeray Speed 2 that Colleen reviewed quite thoroughly only a few months ago?
I believe the Xeccon S-12 was around before the Speed II but like you indicated they are sister products. The Speed II has a driver set up specifically for the Bikeray product and is using the T6 XM-L ( to the best of my knowledge ). The S-12 I'm reviewing is the upgraded version of the S-12 with the Cree U2 emitter. Since I don't own a Spd II it would be interesting to know how the two units compare.
Originally Posted by seeker
Last edited by Cat-man-do; 08-27-2012 at 03:58 AM.
If bin is only difference, then the theoretical maximum output difference between the two is 8%, and lower OTF, perhaps 10-15 lumens. You could not measure this difference with a LIS.
I'm interested to see if the reflector does throw this further down the trail. Or in my case, into the woods to see what is making noises at me.
Cat, I had an Ultrafire torch, XML T-6. Went bad. Bought a new one, same exact model w/ U-2. I got the old torch working again. Charged the batteries.
For the life of me, I can't see a difference. And it actually looks like the T-6 might be brighter but that may be my eyes. I just can't see any difference.
Sorry, didn't mean to hijack the thread. Just wanted you to know my experience w/ the 2 emitters.
Understood. I haven't got around to ordering a U2 for the 501B yet but I am curious as to how it will compare to my T6. The thing about drop-ins and lights in general is "nothing is ever exactly alike". Heck, even among like emitters there can be notable differences One drop-in might have a great driver the other one might have a piss-poor driver. Then there's the reflector to consider and how much light is lost due to poor heat sinking. Even the battery can make a difference...yes, all this plays into how well the torch ( or lamp ) will perform.
Originally Posted by mb323323
Need I say, trying to keep track of the variable factors is quite a chore.
Lux comparison: An interesting shootout
Tonight I thought I'd play around with the lux meter just to see how some of the lights I own compare as to relative throwing power. Please note, this is just a simple comparison and not rocket science. The estimated Lumen outputs are of my own opinion and are just "gut" estimates. Make of all of this what you will.
The set-up: I set the lux meter about 20ft from where I have the lamps. I centered all the lights so I could get the brightest part of the beam pattern on the meter. This is not a "bounce" test. The lights shine directly on the meter. I tried to make sure the readings were taken within a minute or as fast as I could be. Here are the results;
First up: HIDtechnologies' Lumen8R ( quad Cree XR-E ) Est. output about 900 lumen
Lux read out: 402 lux ( confined beam pattern but no noticeable hot spot )
next, MagicShine 808E ( XM-L T-6 ) est. lumen...ehh...700 lumen ( )
Lux read out: 275 lux ( OP reflector but has a bright center area )
next, Bikeray lII ( 3 x XP-G ) est. lumen 650 ( a tough call )
Lux read out: 93 lux ( basically a flood beam, no hot spot )
next Xeccon S-12 ( with Cree U2 XML ) est. lumen.....( jury still out )
Lux read out: 559 lux ( very confined beam pattern, but good spill as well )
next, Kaidoman C-8 torch ( XM-L T-6 ) ( est. Lumen, 800 with good battery )
Lux read out: ( with Blk/red Trustfire 2400mAh cell: 324 lux )
( with Pansonic 3100mAh protected cell, 570 lux ) ( narrow beam pattern, a real thrower with reflector a little bigger and deeper than the S-12 )
Last edited by Cat-man-do; 08-28-2012 at 02:38 AM.
just a Newbie
Converting those number to one meter I get (if my math is correct):
Originally Posted by Cat-man-do
KD C8 = 21204 lux @ 1meter
808E = 10230 lux @ 1meter
S12 = 20794 lux @ 1 meter
If I recall, I think the Speed II resulted with 19000 lux @ 1meter. Judging by the findings, it seem that the S12 is driven about the same as the Speed II with the same if not similar reflector. However the U2 does gives it the 10% boost in throw over the Speed II.
Interesting that the 808E was so low but that may be due to the way the reflector is set in the housing in relation to the LED. Do you see a significant difference in throw between your 808E and the S12?
On your KD C8, is the driver the old driver or is it the 2.8 amp driver?
Actually 20ft. is equal to roughly 6 meters. As such not sure how much you can read into my findings. Then again even our lux meters might not read the same even if they used the same light source.
Originally Posted by colleen c
My KD C8 is using the original 5-mode driver. The newer driver I had wouldn't quite fit the C8 without modding. Instead I used the newer driver in my older C2 which was what I bought it for anyway. I'm still amazed what a difference the battery makes when using torches. The Panasonics really give a nice kick.
The MagicShine 808E has a much wider beam pattern than the S-12. The reflector is shorter and is OP vs. the smooth-long reflector of the S-12. This is why I chose to add a little distance to the test. I wanted to demonstrate this difference. I would of loved to have gone 50ft, but my place is only so big.
I do have to make a correction to my earlier opening comment about the S-12's reflector/lens set-up. Originally I though the front glass was a focal lens. I'm pretty sure now that I got that wrong. It turns out one of my ( thrower ) torches has a very similar set-up. The reflector is deep and highly polished. Looking into the front it appears to magnify the LED ( as the S-12 does ). When I take the front bezel off the torch the glass is just...well...glass. The distortion effect is likely just a result of looking into the highly polished surface of the reflector. It does show though that a deeper /smoother reflector can be made to harness throw. The Spd II and S-12 seem to do that very well.
Colleen, can you give me the weight read out of the Spd II light head vs. the 808E light head. I know the S-12 is heavier than the 808E but I don't have a scale yet. I figure the Spd II and S-12 should weigh the same but I will confirm that. I might just have to sneak into the local grocery store and use their vegetable scale when nobodies looking.
just a Newbie
The weight for the Magicshine 808E is 105 gram.
Originally Posted by Cat-man-do
The weight for the Speed II is 122 gram.
Thanks Colleen. 17gm is not much but is noticeable particularly if you don't regularly ride with a dedicated bike light on the helmet. ( I usually ride with a torch on the helmet )
Originally Posted by colleen c
Nevertheless I've used the S-12 on the helmet with a two cell MagicShine battery mounted directly to the helmet. Definitely more weight than I'm used to but with regular use I will probably get used to it. At least with the two cell I can still keep the helmet "extension free" which is a big plus. Nice, I get to have great throw and still have no wires leading off the helmet. ( Len, I guess this means I get to have my salmon and eat it too.. ) ( Just note that the S-12 comes standard with a 4 cell 4400mAh Li-ion battery ( Bak cells )....which is what I am using for the comparisons.
Yes the difference is minimal. While there may be little difference between the two, some people like the idea of having a more efficient emitter. I would think you might be able to notice more of a difference on the low level, at least as far as run time goes but that remains to be seen. I will be doing a run time test very soon. Heck, for FWIW it's still cheaper than the Speed II. Can't wait to hit a good down-hill with this lamp.
Originally Posted by seeker
After getting off work late tonight I decided to take my chances with the local law enforcement and do a quick "Shine-around" down at the local Football/Soccer field.
When I arrived I came upon something I wasn't expecting; The full moon was so bright tonight that I could see the ( soccer ) goals even from the parking lot
Not worth posting the results as the full moon makes the comparison moot. Better luck next time.
S-12 on a 4.5 mile forest Rd. downhill run.
Okay, I finally got the bear done. Been some time since I've done this run. I almost forgot how hard the climb is but it didn't take long to jog my memory once I started the slow grind up the hill. Last time I did this climb I weighed 20lbs less, so much for that.
My set-up; S-12 on the helmet (Xeccon 4 cell battery in my backpack ), Gloworm X2 ( V2 ) on the bars. My bike is a Kona Kikapu Deluxe with duel Suspension, basic stock set-up except for the Avid Juicy brakes.( 04' or 05' I forget now when I bought it.)
After reaching the pinnacle of the climb I sat down to recover a bit. The weather was pretty much like it was yesterday with the humidity hovering around 83%, temps about 79°F. The surface of the forest road was damp in places. Earlier in the day there had been some light rain ( < 0.01" ) but the road looked good. Just your basic forest road really, hard pack dirt with some rock and gravel here and there to control erosion.
After a short rest and a gel pack for some energy I decided to continue the climb so I could get the full run once I got to the other side of the ridge.
Once I started the downhill run I had to remember "Not" to be over enthused when I first turn the lights on. That's because my eyes are used to the low level light I was using to climb. With dilated pupils, that initial burst of light looks REAL bright. It was hard to do though because the downhill took me by surprise. Like I said before, been a while since I rode the area ( years ). Next thing I know I going downhill at break neck speed. Had to quickly reach up to turn the S-12 on. Then a quick up mode on the Gloworm and I was rock'in.
Fortunately most of the Forest road for the down-hill was relatively dry. With both lamps going full tilt I had no problem seeing anything. Forest roads can be dangerous with sudden ruts, pot holes, rocks, loose gravel or sand or the occasional fallen tree. Not to mention if local wildlife decides to cross the road at the wrong time. Then there's the occasional car as the local youth like to use the area for hanging out.
The high humidity did cut down on the throw ( as did the damp road ) but for most of the descent, even at the speed I was moving ( est. 30mph or more ) I had no problem seeing any potential obstacle way ahead of time. Average line of sight on the descent was usually about 200 ft except when going around turns. Occasionally there would be a nice long straight away with some dryer sections on the road. On those the S-12 could really reach out. Most of the time though the usable throw was in the 200ft. range.
Someone might ask, "Did you have enough light"? I would answer and say "Yes, I had more than enough". Could I ask for more....(?). Well Hell yes! This is a single emitter lamp. It does better than any other single emitter lamp that I have used. That doesn't mean I can't want for more as I am a total long throw junkie. For the time being though I am satisfied with how well the S-12 throws. Hopefully in the near future emitter technology will continue to improve and the S-12 will be adapted to even more brighter LED's. For the record though the optical projection of the S-12 is as good as you can get with one XM-L. ( IMO ) The only limitation I see is the LED itself.
Last edited by Cat-man-do; 09-08-2012 at 04:29 PM.
Coming Up: run time / heat output / lux output
During this week I should do the run time test on the 4 cell Xeccon battery. While doing this I will do periodic measurements to monitor the change in light intensity and to measure the heat build up on the lamp head during the test. Details to follow...
After that will come a measurement of the current draw for the two steady modes.
Sometime after that I will give the S-12 it's first "rain simulation" test. ( sorry, no fancy 1/2 hr. videos )
I'm still planning on doing beam shots although I am still in the planning stages for those. I'm still trying to decide what comparisons are best ( based on the limitations of my camera, which will have a hard time gathering light at the distance the S-12 can throw. )
Still I should be able to put something together that might work but will take a bit more time.
The Tuesday night rides in Patapco are starting this week. Just in case you haven't found a good place to test them. I'm going if I get over this stomach crap in time.
Run time with temp and lux comparisons
The first test is just to give a basic idea of how fast the S-12 heats up and the relative loss of lux output during a 10 min run without a fan blowing on it. Ambient room temp is 77°F. Distance set-up is 5 meters from the lux meter. Temperature readings are with a Craftsman Infrared thermometer. Starting lux output is 2 lux ( minimum reading ) The S-12 is set on the high position.
TEN MINUTE TEST WITHOUT FAN
The next test is for run time with the 4 cell Xeccon battery ( 4400mAh ) I will take periodic temp and lux readings during the first half hour and a couple after the 3hr mark.
Light head Temp
The test will begin when the lighthead returns to the starting temperature ( * Note: the light head cooled very quickly once a fan was turned on. ) I will also note here that I am using the extension power cord during the test. The Xeccon power cords look much more beefy than the typical power cords used with the Bikeray or MagicShine products.
Perhaps it is a minor issue but I like the look of the Xeccon cords. The plugs fit together very tightly which in my opinion inspires confidence in as much as to their ability to keep out moisture. ( *Bikeray, MagicShine and Xeccon power cords are compatible with one another. )
The Xeccon battery is encased in a rubberized protective covering. At one end there is a squarish plug that is not completely sealed. Regardless the plug fits very tightly to the rest of the covering. I tried to gently pry it open with a small screw driver but it is a tough nut to crack. If it fits that tightly I'm going to leave it be least I interfere with it's ability to keep out water. If it ain't broke don't fix it.
Please also note that I continued the test after the lighthead cooled to 77°F. That took maybe 10 minutes. Still I notice a loss of output after starting up again. No doubt the ten minutes used without cooling took an effect. Here are some readings after I started up again.
RUN TIME TEST WITH TEMP AND LUX READ OUT WITH FAN
At the 40 minute mark I had to stop the test. I did this because I felt the earlier run without fan had perhaps heated the inside of the lamp up and the temperature had not yet stabilized. I felt this was skewing the readings so to be on the safe side I will redo the run time with battery when I'm sure the lamp has had enough time to return to ambient room temp. Also during the test I had to reposition the fan which also changed things...my bad. It is interesting to note that the output began to increase after 40 minutes...no doubt the temperature was stabilizing and the better cooling was having an effect.Perhaps later tonight when I recharge the battery and let a couple hours go by I will redo the test.
77°F................952...............start up after cooling
Since I have your attention I also did a weigh out with the S-12 and here are the results
WEIGHT COMPARISON OF S-12
(* test done on a DS-2 scale from Park Tool...courtesy of the LBS )
4 cell battery..........236gm
Last edited by Cat-man-do; 09-15-2012 at 05:49 AM.
Run time / Lux / temp / comparison part II
Finally got it in. Same set-up as before. Lamp 5 meters from lux meter. The fan is positioned about 3 ft behind the lamp. The fan is about a foot in diameter and was run on medium.
RUN TIME TEST WITH FAN
Interesting to note that after 10 minutes the output remained fairly constant the entire test.The blue light came on at the 70 minute mark. At the 2hr and 20 minute mark the Red light came on. The lamp did not do any kind of power down to a lower mode at any time. Output remained constant. At 3hr and 8 minutes the lamp did do a series of flashes with the main light after that the Red led began to blink. Five minutes later the light turned itself off. Not bad for a 4400mAh battery.
Light head temp.................Lux output
3hr and 15 min....lamp goes out....test ended
No doubt in my mind that if you use the low mode ( which is very usable IMO ) for more moderate riding than you are going to get much more run time than what I got here.
S-12 Current draw ( amps ) comparison
Okay, finally got around to testing the current draw on the S-12. I used the MagicShine 808E as a comparison. I used my ( Walmart Special... ) Etek Digital Multimeter to do the read out. The Xeccon 4400mAh battery was used for both lamps. The results:
Xeccon S-12...........1.37A on high........0.5A on low
MagicShine 808E....1.5A on high..........0.75A on medium
Interesting. Because of this I will do a quick 10 min test with the 808E to determine how fast the lamp heats up without a fan. Same distance set-up as before with the S-12. ( 5M)
MAGICSHINE 808E TEMP AND LUX COMPARISON: NO FAN
Wow! Good thing it shut down. It was so hot it burned my hand. ($#@%$!! )
6min and 30sec the 808E shuts down by thermal protection circuit!
I think this pretty much proves that the S-12 is better at handling heat. Then again maybe just the slight increase in maximum current makes that much difference.(?)
When I took my ride the other night with the S-12 I did notice the change in output after about 10 minutes. ( Yes, my eyes could sense the drop although minor as it was ) Even with moving air the emitter drops in output once the lamp begins to heat up. Real shame that has to happen but is likely typical of all LED powered lamps. Even if the initial current value was increased, likely after about 10 minutes the light output would be about the same as the current maximum amp/output setting if using the same heat sink design. Sure would be nice though if the loss of lumen output could be minimized by better heat management.
Last edited by Cat-man-do; 09-10-2012 at 02:33 AM.
Thanks for the thorough review! This little light is on my radar.
Does anyone know if Dinotte batteries are compatible with Xeccon lights? The connectors look very similar.
Your tests show this light is quite a bit brighter than the MS. Does it throw much brighter down the trail as well. Is there any dark spot on the middle of the beam while pointed well down the trail. The cheap clones have the dark spot.
Also, the rating is in Lux. Did you mean lumens.
MB, yes the S-12 has considerably more throw than the 808E. There are no discernible artifacts in the beam pattern.
Originally Posted by mb323323
The test was done with a Lux meter Ap for my droid. At the 5 meter distance incremental changes were roughly at every 10 lux. Lumen is a measure of total light output and performed with an integrating sphere, a very expensive piece of equipment.
A lux meter is less expensive and easier to work with. For demonstration purposes they work rather well. There is a calculation that can convert the lux over to lumen but to do so you need the "viewing angle". Just one degree in viewing angle makes a vast difference. Since I have no way to really know the viewing angle I just left it alone.
For what it's worth the 808E and S-12 likely output about the same amount of light. How that light is harnessed though is completely different. The 808E has a wider beam pattern. The S-12 is more narrow and therefore has better potential for distance throw.
For the bars the 808E is a nice little light but for the helmet I like the S-12.
Some people might think the S-12 too spotty. Not me, i think the beam pattern perfect for the helmet. The beam pattern will fill the trail at about 60 ft. ( ten foot wide ) and then go a bit wider the farther you aim it. I haven't yet determined absolute "usable throw" but in bad conditions ( damp, wet, heavy humidity ) I could see well at least to 200 ft. In my one lone downhill run ( after about 10 minutes ) it was about the same. On a dry surface even more. The 808E can reach the same distance but cannot equal the intensity of the S-12. Intensity has a direct relationship to the usability factor of the S-12 lamp but that of course is just my opinion.
lyndonchen, Yes, a DiNotte battery will work but the connector(s) fit very loosely. Some duct tape or electrical tape should keep them from coming apart.
S-12: The rain test
Folks I've been on the graveyard shift all week so I've not had a lot a time for playing with the light. ( yeah, I do work for a living ) Still I did have some time before going in to work to give the S-12 it's first taste of water. I set the S-12 and battery ( less the cloth covering ) in my shower and gave it a go. I used moderate intensity, something that I felt like would equal a good hard rain shower.
I did actually try to take a small video with my smart phone. Unfortunately I haven't been able to upload it to my photobucket account for some reason. I'm still trying to figure that out but If I do I will post it up even though it is only a couple minutes long and shows nothing but a light getting wet in the shower.
Len can breath a sigh of relief, the S-12 did fine. I left it in for about 20 minutes. After that I took it out, towel dried it and inspected it. I could see where traces of water got into the heat sink slots and down where the bottom hole was some wetness. I moved the lamp around to see if any more water would come out. Maybe a small drop and that was about it. To be truthful I much expected to see more water get into the heat sink slots but I guess that didn't happen. If it did than likely the bottom hole does very well at draining the water. I saw no water inside the reflector/emitter area at all ( from casual front inspection ) The battery as expected did very well. I did notice some water on the connector plugs but that might of happened when I pulled the plugs apart. A drop here or there, that was it. During the test the plug got really drenched.
*Note: I will likely repeat this test again during my review but unless there is some problem I might not make mention of it.
**Rain test continued below**
Last edited by Cat-man-do; 09-16-2012 at 03:45 AM.
S-12 Rain test Continued
I finally got the video to upload although it got a bit jumbled during the upload. It was only a couple minutes long. Something is better than nothing I suppose....
S-12 shower 01 video by catmando55 - Photobucket
No problems occurred during the second rain simulation test. The only thing I noticed is that water does seem to get inside the plug connectors somehow although not enough to have any effect on the lamp or battery. Afterwards I did manage to get the back of the battery plug off. The photo is just to show how it works. No water got inside the battery outer covering. The covering looks very rubbery. The plug is notched making it very hard for water to get in. The second picture is a comparison of the plugs/wires vs. the BR/MS type plugs/wires. Like I mentioned before the Xeccon wires are a little thicker and seem more flexible ( IMO ).
Thank you for the great review. It would be great if you could post some beam shots of the MS808e with the S12 - preferably side- by-side. There were some in another post but not good enough for a comparison.
I am thinking of buying a S12 for a helmet light. I have a Piko 3 (750lm) but would like to get more throw.
Indeed. I will do that and more. I held off doing the beam shots because for me they are the hardest thing to arrange. I live in a city. Everywhere there are pole lamps. This makes finding an easily accessible secluded dark area very hard to do. The police are everywhere and they like to check these secluded areas. I've had run-ins before so I need to find a place where I can get set-up without drawing a lot of attention. Where I live that is not easy to do. Unfortunately the place I use to use for beam shots has too much police presence now. The other place I used now has parking lot pole lights close enough to interfere with the light test.
Originally Posted by juergenor
Tonight I went out with the intent to do some quick beam shots. I brought the following equipment along; Camera, tripod, box for tripod, small ladder, bike lights, bottles for distance marking.
Since I am testing this lamp as a "helmet lamp" I want to have the lamp mounted (or held ) head high. To give the viewer the same view I have to get the camera set-up at the same height, hence the " tripod on box " set-up. I drove around for a least an hour and just couldn't find a suitable spot, a real bummer that is.
Next week I'll be off from work. That should give me the time I need to drive somewhere that I can get set-up and work in peace.
Thanks - hope you have more luck next week. Again - thank you for your effort.
Beam Shots from the hood
Well I finally found a place near me to work but happens to be near a local hood. I kept expecting the police to show up at any time to run my off but thankfully that didn't happen.
My camera is a real PITA to work with. I lost the software disc years ago and since I have a new computer I have trouble trying to transfer photos over to my computer without the software. I really do need a new camera though as the one I have ( Sony Cyber-shot 2.1 ) only has one night setting.
Anyway only two of the photos turned out. It is hard to do beam photos involving any kind of distance because the camera really struggles to gather light. Not to mention the viewing screen is almost unusable which makes aiming the camera very difficult. For the time being these photos will have to do till I get better equipment. Sorry but the low mode photo for the S-12 didn't turn out well so I have to redo that some time later.
The set-up: The camera is mounted on a tripod and sitting on a plastic shelving box to give it height similar to someone using the light on the helmet. This puts in about 6 ft. off the ground. The lamp is mounted just below the camera about 6 inches. I used 1 liter Pespi bottles as road markers. They are set at 100ft, 150ft and 2 at 200ft. respectively. I am aiming both the S-12 and the MagicShine 808E at the two bottles at the 200 ft. mark. You should be able to get an idea of the difference as the S-12 can reach beyond the 200ft markers ( although the camera does a lousy job of showing it ) ** to view the photos it is better to turn the lights off in the room. Believe me this helps.
First photo: S-12 with XM-L U2
Second photo: MagicShine 808E with XML T6
Beams Shots adjusted
Folks, I'm really not satisfied with how the beam shots turned out. My camera sucks. The photos are too grainy in my opinion. Not the first time I've had to deal with this issue but in the future I'll be shopping for a new camera.
To help clear the photos up I went back and sharpened them using Adobe Photo shop. Both pictures I added 40°of sharpness. No brightness or color correction was added. The sharpness alone makes the photos look brighter. I tried using the auto color correction feature but that ended up making the photos look way brighter than they actually were. Still, with just the graininess removed the photos are truer to life. ( *note: I left the original photo's up for comparison )
Just remember, unlike most photos you see on MTBer, these are aimed for maximum distance throw so there's not a lot of close in light. Before you start thinking the results are still not impressive just remember in actual use I am using a Gloworm X2 as a bar light in combo. With both lights in combo the cumulative effect of both on at the same time is quite impressive even at the 200ft. range.
( Bottles placed at 100ft...150ft. and two at 200ft. )
Photo #1) S-12 on high ( sharpened )
photo#2) MagicShine 808E on high, ( sharpened )
Thanks for your effort - I can see the difference. Looks like a great helmet light.
I took the S-12 out tonight while testing another lamp on the bars. As usual the S-12 continues to impress me with it's ability to throw distance. I really wouldn't have bothered posting this but when I got back to the car I tried aiming the S-12 at one of the soccer goal posts close to where I had parked my car. The soccer field was down a slight ravine more than a hundred feet away from where I was parked. Part of of the field was lit from the ambient light of the street lamps in the parking lot but the far goal was in darkness. Just for kicks I decided to see if the S-12 could reach the far goal from where I was standing.....
*That goal must of been over 400 ft. away but damn if it didn't reach. Not real bright mind you but I could see the white goal post and the grass in front of the goal. Not bad for a lamp under $100 USD. ( * conditions were primo...no ground fog and the air was clear with 74% humidity )
Just a question about the indicator at the back of the lighthead: does it change colour as it draws down it's charge. Mine stays green most of the time, even after a two hour ride. I'm guessing it's not still fully charged, so I'm also guessing it doesn't change colours as the charge dwindles. But I still wanted to check.
Great light by the way. Very nice throw, very nice colour, well sorted package, and Lennard at mtbrevolution was great to deal with. thumbs up all around.
continuous growth is the strategy of a cancer cell.
Yes it changes colour. Green, then blue, then red. I haven't done a rundown test, so I can't give you accurate timings.
The torch for my bars (ordered before the S-12) arrived a week after the Xeccon. I took them both out on my regular cross-country trail. I did lots of shine around, test the throw of one, then the other, try out different beam shot locals, etc. They were both running on high for roughly about the same amount of time.
Got myself in a bit of a pickle by striking out on virgin territory. Tried to take a short cut back to a known, "9 km to home" spot, but found a previously open gate locked. I couldn't find my way back through the waist high grass, and was trapped between two fence lines, and a swamp. I got kind of disorientated, went in circles, and ended up back at the gate more than once. I know I was running the lights on low for a while, to conserve power. Was seriously considering that my next purchase should be a GPS, when I finally found my way back out.
Just when I got back to pavement, the torch did it's flash and step down to low. I took off the helmet to check the S-12. It was running on blue. Less than 5 minutes down the road, the S-12 did it's flash & step down. Took off the helmet, and sure enough it was red.
When the step-downs happened, I couldn't help but think "What if I hadn't found my way out?" (Answer - Would have had to leave the bike, and climbed the eight foot, barbed wire topped fence)
I know I was gone for about 3.25 hrs total, and the step-downs were about 20 minutes from home. Like I said, not exactly a constant high beam.
I've seen a few blues and reds since then. I've just never noted when it went from green to blue.
Last edited by Ian_C; 11-03-2012 at 02:44 AM.
Hey Sly, yes, it changes colors like Ian said. We've done runtime/rundown test on the S12 U2 before and got 3 hours 15 mins average. The switch indicator lights start changing in the table below attached as a picture.
Originally Posted by slyfink
Using my personal Xeccon 4400mAh batteries (about 2 months old) I ran 2 lights with them and using a Xeccon 6600mAh ( about 3 weeks old) to run another. Test set up in the picture below the rundown table.
Hi Ian, sorry to hear about you getting lost in a night ride. GPS is a good idea but spare battery is needed if you plan to explore.
Originally Posted by Ian_C
Xeccon lights are designed to strobe 3 times when the color indicator changes. This gives the rider fair warning on the status of the battery. Are you sure it stepped down when it went from blue to red? We have not witnessed a step down in the test we've done including the one tonight using a Galaxy Tab for video and Replay XD for time lapse pictures at 30 second intervals. Please let me know if yours does. It should only do that if it's on thermal protection.
Last edited by Cat-man-do; 11-10-2012 at 04:35 PM.
Hey Cat, goose bumps reading your experience with the rattlesnake. That's intense.
Originally Posted by Cat-man-do
We have beware of snake signs most places I go but have yet to see one, yet roll over one. I used to ask, where are these snakes they are talking about? Guess I shouldn't wish an encounter. Closest encounter I had with wildlife was nearly rolling over a Wombat on a singletrack along the Yarra River. I was on a sweeping right-hander when my helmet light caught a blackish obstacle across the tight track - wasn't there the last 50 times. Those who know what a Wombat is will know this animal is tough. Hit it with a car, it will die but will give your panel beater overtime before it does. I hit the brakes hard and nearly went over the bar. It move off as I yelled "sh#@%t. I still went straight into the bushes on the left but didn't come off the bike - 5 metres more I would be in the river.
Night trail explorers should at least have 2 lights with interchangeable batteries. You can run bar on low with the helmet on high. Swap over when helmet is getting close to depletion. Then run it on hi or low depending on the time you need. Having a spare battery in the backpack or frame is best.
I never got lost while riding, touch wood. I always ride with my Casio Protrek watch I've owned for more than 17 years. It's equipped with a digital compass and never had to change the battery even once in the time I've had it. Latest model is here.
I've mentioned I ride alone normally starting my rides at 9pm nowadays and home by 11-ish, my wife feels better knowing where I am. Should I come off the bike and say knock myself unconscious, she will know where to direct emergency. This Real Time GPS app for Android or iPhone is good - when it's working. She can see me moving in real time on the home desktop. She turns on the porch light just before I turn the corner. It's that accurate - when it's working. I say this twice because sometimes the GPS signal can drop out.
Another great thing about this app is it allows you to see where you are on the smart phone. You can see where the main roads are in relation to your position. You can also choose map overlays like OpenCycleMap which is a wiki for bike tracks around the world. Chat with whoever you allow to watch you. And it's all free.
Download to phone, bookmark the Greenalp page on your browser. Register a nickname and password. When you next ride, turn on the app on the phone, open the webpage with your login and that's it. It will show 1 viewer on the left. You can share your location with others by sending a link via text or e-mail to anyone. They click on the link and will see you on their desktop or phone browser.
I might not have remembered that part correctly. It was about 5 weeks ago.
Originally Posted by Xeccon
The Shadow JM07 on the bars definitely does do a step-down. The S-12 may have just flashed, and I set it to low to make sure there was enough light to get home.
I can guarantee it wasn't a heat issue. The outside temp was about 5 C (40 F for our US friends). As this was my first long ride with both lights, I was curious about temperature handling with them running on high for so long. Took off the gloves and felt them several times during the ride. The difference between the head and tail cap on the JM07 was "cold" and "wow that's really cold." The S-12 was slightly higher, but not enough to be a hand warmer. The fingers were more comfortable back in the gloves than cupping the S-12 for heat.
"Lost" would be kind of a strong word to describe my situation. I was in the middle of a two mile by two mile box, bounded by major roads, and a set of railroad tracks. The other side of one fence was my regular trail. The second fence had the tracks. It was only the ragged edge of the wetlands (on the prairies we call it a Slew) that had me stumped. The nerves were probably enhanced by the hour (it was getting near midnight and I'd been up since 6 AM), and coyotes howling. Each group was half a mile away, but I could hear them on three sides.
The throw of the S-12 was great. I could clearly see all the big earth movers I'd ridden by on my way in. Of course they were on the other side of the swamp, about 1/3 mile away. (They're slicing a big chunk out of my nightly ride space by extending an expressway, and filling in some of the wetland for a connector into an industrial park.) At other points in the ride I could see the beam moving on hill sides at great distance. Not enough light these old eyes to make out more than "Hills Side" and "Big Tree," but enough of a beam to see it was different than the blacker surroundings.
And to tie in with Cat's story, about three minutes after both lights said "I'm hungry," the camel back went dry.
Len, I do plan on doing some more exploring next year. I already have some of the GPS, compass apps for my smart phone but phone apps tend not to have some of the better features that a dedicated GPS device will have. Not to mention that running an app on your phone can use the battery up real quick. I've already planned on buying a Garmin GPS device for mountain biking as a Christmas gift to myself.
My fail-safe for night time use is the torch that I mount on my handlebars. If my main lamps should run out of juice the torch will provide 3hrs of run time on medium. Along with a spare cell I carry in my pack that is enough for almost any situation. Ever since the LED lamps came along I've never had a ride where "lack of battery run time" was an issue. As for me I don't think I'll ever explore new areas at night anyway simply because too much stuff can happen even if you have good lights. Nope, for night rides I want the tried and true.
Yep, getting turned around at night was a big problem years ago. Now with all the electronic gizmos you can be much safer.
Originally Posted by Cat-man-do
I thought of the Garmin 800 for myself not long ago. I needed something that won't drop out on me, however, it doesn't send location back to homebase. That was the deal-breaker for me. If a new model have that feature, I would snap it up in a NY minute. For yourself, it would be perfect if you're going to go where no MTBer has gone before. It will track and record which you can download to your computer when you're home and enjoy your expedition. It will also give you waypoints back to where you started which phone apps won't do. Bear in mind, the Garmin isn't exactly thrifty on juice.
Hear what you're saying about not having battery depletion issues. Just power consumption management - that's what I say to the boys and gals who buy for 24 hour racing. I don't even ride with spares anymore because I use 1kg of batteries when I ride. We don't need to go full blast all the way especially on extended rides. My primary lights are my helmet lights. I just run the XP-Es on my bar normally.
Watched the movie Sanctum again last night while I was doing the rundown test. That movie really makes you appreciate juice in your batteries. Well, I am off for my ride. Have a bit of a laugh here at the expense of the poor Wombat.
Hi Ian, played back the video to see if any of the 3 lights stepped down after their 3 strobe reminder. The beam pattern and brightness was the same as before it strobed so I can confirm it did not step down. I initially thought it stepped down because the strobe is on-off-on-off which created the illusion it was darker than before the strobe. Check it out yourself and get back to me if you find otherwise. We'll send you another light head if that's the case.
Originally Posted by Ian_C
Heat management of the S12 is pretty good. It goes up and then plateaus at a manageable temperature. I have been thinking of asking Xeccon to drive a sample unit to 1.6A or 1.7A. It's currently at about 1.37A.
Sorry to dramatize your situation. Important thing is you got home safely. Coyotes howling would have freaked me out if I had minimal throw on my helmet. Dread the thought of hearing something close but not being able to see it/them.
Sounds like your timing was perfect that day. Just know your S12 has just over 3 hours on high from full charge. Oh, it may been less for that day since you said it was 5°C outside. It's probably a good idea to get another 4400mAh or 6600mAh if you ride nights frequently but with your playground getting smaller you may even get away with a 2200mAh.
Short-term review thoughts on the S12:
I purchased the light on Sunday morning PAT and it arrived Wednesday afternoon about 2 pm. Leonard was responsive to questions and communication was first rate.
As described up-thread, the hardware appears of good quality and better than average for the price point.
I purchased it solely for use as a helmet light. It throws like a MoFo. I have only used it twice,: once on high for 2 hours, and once on ~50% high and 50% low for a total of 3 hours and battery indicator light was still blue both times. Low setting is plenty for uphills/slow downhills, and high setting is outstanding with tons of throw.
Hopefully, the light is durable and reliable - we shall see.
The only potential demerit is weight. I've seen a weight of ~117 grams or so and while this is not too much to cause discomfort, it is noticeable.
Overall, the brightness and throw cannot be beat for this price. While the new Glowworm X1 interests me, at roughly half the weight, it also comes with double the price tag.
Originally Posted by VanillaEps
Xeccon X-12 with XM-L2 ( Version II ) has arrived
Been some time since I last posted on the X-12. Leonard from Xeccon has once again provided me with another X-12, this time the new Version II with XM-L2 emitter for review purposes. ( No, I did not pay for it and yes I can keep it. )
I wasted no time. I had to know right from the get-go if it is brighter. I quickly did a ~ 5M lux comparison. The results below
Included with this upgraded lamp is the new 6000mAh Li-Po battery. The battery I will review separately and post over on the "Battery Thread". Can't wait to play around with it. Unfortunately I won't get too much chance to play with it this week as my work schedule has me in places I'd rather not be. Sad it is to get a new toy and not be able to play with it. Such is life.
Xeccon X-12 with XM-L U2 > 1030 lux
Xeccon X-12 with XM-L2 >> 1230 lux
I'm not sure but comparing the two, old vs. the new, the new feels like it might be a little bit lighter. I'll need to confirm that by weighing it ( at work ) when I get the chance. Like the previous version the new X-12 is still a three mode ( H-M-flash ). Besides feeling lighter the only other difference from the previous version is the anodized red aluminum retaining ring on front of lamp. Glad they did that, not only does it look real nice it helps me know which is which.
Like has been said before, these lamps are "real spot throwers". As such these are really designed for helmet use and excel at illuminating objects at distance. Not sure if the camera I have can display the differences in throw ( at distance ). Doesn't really matter though, the lux meter tells the real story anyway.
Last edited by Cat-man-do; 04-22-2013 at 02:52 PM.
Hi Cat, thought I'd clarify a couple of things. Your lux comparison is showing difference what my eye didn't quite detect. At first, it looked about 7% brighter to my eyes using the same Li-ion battery compared to the U2 OD - it's probably more and your test has more or less confirmed this. Was the lux comparison using Li-ion only or the S12 Two with the LiPo battery?
Originally Posted by Cat-man-do
The weight is the same - nothing has changed in that department. The drive is the same as before - nothing has been changed too. If we really wish to give the Performance S12s one last push beyond it's current capabilities, we can - by jacking up the drive current to say 1.6A to 1.8A. The extra heat generated may be worthwhile. Also, the red bezel ring is a mtbRevolution signature for our S12s.
No point taking beamshots. Like you said, lux (and sphere test) is probably the best way to test lights like these. Camera exposure doesn't take light in from long distances and that's why they look under-performing each time. Cameras take great floodlight shots but not throwers.
Inside my home I wasn't able to discern the difference between the two outputs with my eyes. That only makes sense though. The eye is only so sensitive to light that is bright at close range. Outside though I expect to see a difference because the light will be more dispersed. Not to mention the medium mode should be more brighter thus more useful. ( I'll lux test that as well ) When I tested the Version II I did use the Li-Po.. At some point I should try to test the battery draw while on the Li-Po to see if there is some difference.
Originally Posted by Xeccon
The lux readings were taken before the lamps could heat up. No doubt the output will drop once the lamps heat up. I'll do that test as well. I already know the U2's drop in output once warm. This is no surprise actually, all LED's drop in output once they heat up. Hopefully the XM-L2's will live up to their rep as being able to handle heat better. We'll see.
Xeccon X-12 ( with XM-L2 emitter )
Did a quick Shine around tonight while on the job. Output on these are really sweet. I can easily tell it is brighter than the U2's but when on trails rarely do you need that extra kick unless you're on a trail ( or fire road ) with a really long line of sight. Can't wait to try this on my favorite fire road descent. Needs to get a little warmer though. At night it's still gets cold.
Was reading the Quad, D99 and 808E 5m lux comparison. This is saying the XM-L2 lamp pumps out more than twice, and change, on what the 808E can do. Cat, I think it'd be great if you can use the LiPo and compare the readings with the other lamps you have for the Battery 2013 thread. I am curious if the XM-L2 performs better with the LiPo in percentage terms.
Just remember that the X-12 has a reflector that concentrates the beam better than the other lamps. This is what gives the X-12 it's superior throw. It's not just that it's twice as bright, it just uses the light it has more efficiently/effectively.
Originally Posted by Xeccon
Over the weekend I'll try to do some comparisons with the battery to see if there are differences in current draw in comparison with the standard four cells Li-ion batteries.
Just to let you know; I finally bought a "Y" cable. Yesterday I tried to run both my Gloworm X2 and Quad lamp ( at the same time ) using both the Xeccon 6-cell hard pack and the new Li-Po battery. Didn't seem to have any problems. Can't wait to give that set-up a try on the trails.