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Thread: MCE vs P7

  1. #1

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    MCE vs P7

    I have recently been riding with the cheap P7 bike light from DX and really happy with the beam pattern it seems to have a nice hot spot with just enough spill. When on low power it has a similar beam pattern (slightly brighter) to my orange peel fenix l2d which was enough for me a few years ago.

    When I first read about the MCE everyone was holding back on the p7 for the MCE as it was going to be smaller and more efficient. What are the real advantages of the MCE as the P7 seems a great option.

    The MCE looks like it makes a great helmet light with the iris lens.
    Can you get special lens like this for the p7 to make it a true spot light?

    I would like a new torch for work and would like the brightest beam with the best hot spot using a single 18650. Which torch should I go for an MCE or P7?

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr AB
    When I first read about the MCE everyone was holding back on the p7 for the MCE as it was going to be smaller and more efficient. What are the real advantages of the MCE as the P7 seems a great option.

    I would like a new torch for work and would like the brightest beam with the best hot spot using a single 18650. Which torch should I go for an MCE or P7?
    From a purist point of view, a significant advantage of the MC-E is that the 4 individual leds come out on separate pins, giving the (generally more efficient) option of wiring the individual leds in seies or series-parallel. However, as you will be running a very basic system using a single 18650, then this is no advantage to you. I believe the die within the P7 are actually supplied by Cree, and the specs are virtually identical, so for all practical purposes you will get the same amount of light from your P7 as an MCE. I'm not sure if the P7 is available to the equivalent of the best M-bin MC-E, but there is no difference in the lower bins. I don't know if there is greater range of better optics for the MC-E, maybe, but others here could advise. I see the P7 as the "poor man's" MC-E - it does most things almost as well, but at much lower cost.

  3. #3
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    The P7 seems to be more popular with the cheap flashlights, I'm guessing because its easier to handle (no star board needed).

    No idea why but the MC-E has more optics available.

    SSC use the cree EZ1000 die on the P4 and P7, I think they use their own phosphors though. Cree seem to be a little ahead lumen wise.

  4. #4
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    There is quite a difference in size as you can see from the pic(P7 far left-MC-E second from left) also apart from the wiring options already mentioned the p7 is a very cold blueish white while the MC-E tends to be warmer and has more choice of tints.
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  5. #5
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    I've not experienced any MC-E that offers a more true "white" than the P7 emitters. Granted, this could all be based on the tint bins that I've used and seen, but both my P7 C and D bin lights are far whiter than my MC-E M bin torch or DIY emitters.

    That being said, optics choices are far fewer for the P7. I don't think there's any real choice for a P7 spot unless you use a torch reflector. If you want flood the Ledil Booms work very well. My favorite bar light is a dual P7 using Booms, but it wouldn't do well on the helmet.

  6. #6
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    Don't know much about the mce's, but I can add that the DX P7's (whatever bin they are) are the whitest light I have ever seen in a bike light.

    I really like the color of them and the beam pattern when combined with a DX 14599 relector.

    $13.47 for the P7 is a big plus also.
    Wiring is simple and easy with two solder points.

    Just my personal observations.

  7. #7
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    I've had 3 DX P7 flashlights and 2 MCEs.

    The P7s all had an even, well distributed, flood beam that just works great for bike headlight.

    The MCEs both have a major "donut hole" spot and a more concentrated central "ring o fire" - makes a significantly inferior bike light IMO.

    Colors for all were very white for both types.

    No more MCEs for me, thanks. The P7s simply make a better bike light.

    I attribute this to both the emitter and optics. I think if more cyclists had the opportunity to compare these with their own eyes, they'd pick the P7 at least 2:1 (or higher).

    I'm getting older and my eyes/brain need a lot of light on the pavement / trail.

    I do not endorse or recommend DX/KD for lights. They sell cheap products with poor QC and abysmal CS. Probably 2 out of 3 of their lights / electrical components are junk that wouldn't be sold by reputable US sellers due to the hassle they'd get handling returns.

    A $40 P7 flashlight is a good deal only if it works right, for years. If you have to buy 3 of them to get one that works (I did) then it's a $120 overpriced junk light.

    Better off buying a fancy boutique / premium light from the guys at CPFM. BTW there's a fair amount of crooks over there too, so caveat emptor!

    Also be aware P7 lights have to be powered by at least 2 18650 cells in series to make current regulation practical. All those 1x18650 lights at DX that are spec's as "regulated" and "900 lumen" are NOT. They're running in direct drive mode and producing maybe 500 lumens for the first few minutes, and gradually burning down to ~300 lumens when voltage gets down ~3.3v.

    Also all you guys building heat sinks like you're working on a DOE reactor project - you all seem to overlook the very significant cooling effects of air moving past the light as you ride. Even in 90F weather my P7s don't get even warm enough to detect by touch (of course this would be a different if they were driven to ~3A). Sitting still, these things all get too hot to handle.

    My old Marwi dual halogens got so hot once (while parked for an unplanned, extended break) that the wire insulation melted. Lesson learned: turn them off when stopped. This applies to LEDs too. A little bit of good judgement makes up for a lot of engineering and cost.

    My apologies, I digress.

    I recommend a P7 if you can find one from a reputable seller at fair price.
    Last edited by seeker; 07-31-2009 at 07:59 AM.

  8. #8

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    I P7 lights with the right reflector make a great bike light, I was expecting a green light but this was not the case. I think we all got lost with expectation of the MCE. Can't wait to build my marwi conversion and use it for a helmet light along with my dx light for the bars.

  9. #9
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    I think you are gonna like that marwi conversion.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by seeker
    I've had 3 DX P7 flashlights and 2 MCEs.

    The P7s all had an even, well distributed, flood beam that just works great for bike headlight.

    The MCEs both have a major "donut hole" spot and a more concentrated central "ring o fire" - makes a significantly inferior bike light IMO.
    There is no reason why the MC-E beam needs to be poorer. Unless they use P7 reflectors and have just swapped in the MC-E.
    As said, the easier build of the P7 torch lends itself to cheap torches, and P7s seem to greatly outnumber MC-Es so its no surprise they have better beams.

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