SolarStorm X2 (with battery pack) Review - BUDGET Light- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Smile SolarStorm X2 (with battery pack) Review - BUDGET Light

    This is a bike light provided by tinydeal.com for review. The light is available here.

    Introduction
    The light head without the battery pack is sold for $15. That’s like 50% off the price of a head only Yinding unit! The light and battery pack combo retails for about $24 compared to about $45 to the Yinding unit.
    Considering that the Yinding itself is a budget light, I am sure corners had to be cut to make it to this incredible price ... Let’s find out below...

    Manufacturer Specs: ( I removed unnecessary details)
    · - LED Type: CREE XM-L U2 LED
    · - Feature: More condensed light, long exposure distance
    · 4 Switch Modes: Weak, Middle, Strong, Strobe
    · Battery indicator(beside the blue button):
    · - Three lights lit on(power80%)
    · - Two lights lit on(50%power80%)
    · - One light will lit on and will flash three(runtime30minutes)
    · Material:
    · - Aircraft Aluminum with Military Type III Hard-Anodized
    · - Aluminum alloy reflector
    · - Waterproof design with the special waterproof connector and rubber material suit for rainy days
    · - Constant current, Constant Brightness
    · Power Source: 1x8.4v 8400mAh Battery Pack
    · Battery Charger
    · - Voltage: 100v - 240v
    · - LED indication for Power On / Charging / Full charge
    · Weight: 486g
    · IPX - 7 waterproof rating, unable to support dive use


    SolarStorm X2 (with battery pack) Review - BUDGET Light-01.jpg
    The light was sent in a decent and protective cardboard box with cut out foam inside to protect the different parts from moving and from shocks and scratches. The package came with


    • 1x Head light with dual XML-L2 lights
    • One charger.
    • One battery pack.
    • One nylon pouch with velcro strap for battery pack
    • 2x thick orings for mounting the bike light
    • Head strap


    Turning on the light, I was astounded to see ONLY ONE of the leds were working! Argggg! I tried fixing it but of no use...
    ADD: Products do and will arrive DOA from any vendors or manufacturers and I was offered a replacement item by Tinydeal to test. This was promptly handled and it was without me asking for one. I ,however, declined to get another unit. I can therefore only commend them for their handling of the situation which was prompt.

    SolarStorm X2 (with battery pack) Review - BUDGET Light-02.jpgSolarStorm X2 (with battery pack) Review - BUDGET Light-04.jpg



    Disambling the head light unit:

    The reflector is not a’dual beam’ reflector that is, it does not have a throwy reflector and a more smooth one for flood. It is simply 2 same emitters and 2 same reflectors stacked one besides the other. The lens made of ordinary glass with somewhat rough edges which is well hidden and has no issue on output. The glass lens is a nice touch as it is scratch resistant and more transparent than plastic.
    SolarStorm X2 (with battery pack) Review - BUDGET Light-03.jpg
    The low and medium modes are PWM controlled while the high mode is current controlled. PWM was detected by camera. It is fast and I do not think it will be visible to people unless someone really really has an issue with PWM controlled lights!

    It has a very nice battery indicator which remains on and visible at the back of the bike light so that you are always aware of the amount of charge remaining.
    SolarStorm X2 (with battery pack) Review - BUDGET Light-05.jpg
    As per manufacturer, - Three lights lit on(power80%),Two lights lit on(50%power80%) and One light will lit on and will flash three(runtime30minutes). This was tested and I can confirm that it works.

    The headlight base came with no additional rubber or plastic to prevent stem scratch. So do not forget to add one to prevent your paint from getting scratched!
    SolarStorm X2 (with battery pack) Review - BUDGET Light-06.jpg

    The headlight wire was 22AWG and about 60cm long.


    Battery pack:
    The ‘pack’ is made up of 4x18650 batteries sealed with plastic. It does not appear hard to tear off and replace with custom batteries if you have the skills but unfortunately, I do not have those skills. The amount of 'juice' in it is relatively good. I didnot run down the unit to perform a full runtime testing as only 1x led was working.

    Other items: (Charger/pouch/headstrap)
    The charger is a universal charger with 8.4V/1000MA output. It came with US plug and thus, non-US users will have to get an adapter to use it.
    The nylon pouch was good but not of great quality. For the price, definetely good. It has 2 types of holding mechanisms:
    1. Velcro strap to use on bike/helmet.
    2. Back straps to be able to attach to a belt.

    The head strap was a bit on the small side and if you have a somewhat big head like me or have much hairs, it will not go deep enough and under effort/much movements, can come off.


    Beamshots: (only white wall beam shots performed as 1 led working)
    (To be added)

    Runtimes:
    Excluded from review as only 1 led working.

    PROS:

    1. Price. Damn inexpensive at $24 (currently on promo)
    2. Comes with genuine 2 x XML-L2 leds. (Worth mentioning for the price)
    3. Working and always on and visible battery indicator.
    4. Well spaced low, medium and high modes (at least on the 1x working led version, lol!
    5. Nice beam
    6. Glass lens
    7. Should handle light rain fine.


    CONS:

    1. QC could be better. One of the leds was DOA.
    2. PWM controlled on low and medium modes.
    3. Head strap a bit on the ‘small’ side.
    4. Gets real HOT on high mode. This will be an issue when the 2x leds works.
    5. To switch off, you must always cycle low,medium, high before accessing off.



    RELATIVE:

    1. No tint selection. Available in cool white only.
    2. Does not come with a throw/flood combo.
    3. Even when the unit is turned off, the battery indicator remains off! You should physically disconnect the unit I think so that you do not run down your battery pack!!



    CONCLUSION:
    Lights such as this can be classed as a budget version of a budget light. If you need an inexpensive light to commute around the city doing small to medium trips to say the local shop, meet friends, casual bike rides, this is a very good deal at the price if you get a working unit. Mine was partly DOA...

    It can still prove to be a bargain if you are tight on budget and need a bright light for longer rides as the modes are well spaced and should cover even your longest rides. You forego stuffs like quality, dual beam, tints but at the end of the day, you get much lumens for your money and can see and be seen at night.

    Do keep in mind that this is most likely to be a stop gap solution until you can afford something better.
    Last edited by Mountainking7; 08-25-2015 at 10:55 AM.

  2. #2
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    Good review. "You get what you pay for." Tons of folks around my neck of the woods run these with no issue so as cheap as they are and even with the issues noted, these aren't a bad deal if you want to try night riding....I have one that has been flawless as a backup/loaner. Probably best to buy these from Amazon so at least you can return it if you are unhappy with the quality or have issues like you had. Mine provides plenty of light as a helmet lamp.

    Edit. My buddy runs one each on the helmet and bar and has noted that as a bar light, the beam pattern is much too tight.
    Last edited by TiGeo; 08-21-2015 at 12:36 PM.
    Geologist by trade...bicycle mechanic (former) by the grace of God!

    2018 Niner RKT 9 RDO - enduro AF

  3. #3
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    I have one of these, not impressed at all compared to my other Chinese lights. The design of the head is good for heat dissipation till you look inside (very poor thermal transfer) and beam pattern is good for helmet use but that's it.

    Your version is running emitters in parallel so output is going to be good for nothing more than commuting around town.

    The original versions (before the very poorly made clones like this one) are pretty good, but good luck finding them. Here's the thread though (these lights have been around for a while).

    http://forums.mtbr.com/lights-night-...x2-844802.html

  4. #4
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    Mountainking, can you make sharp closeup pictures of the leds and leds PCB. From your pictures I don't see the leds are XML-L2 (as you write at the end). It might happen they are even not Cree. I suspect they are LatticeBright ie. counterfeit of Cree XM-L. To prove that I need very good macro picture.

    To bad the one led is DOA. I'm shure you can fix it. Will help you if you don't know how.

    Another thing I would like to see is more clear driver picture so I can see resistors R8 and R9. Then we can calculate current to the leds.

    Teardown of battery pack would be nice too. I'm very cuirous what are the cells inside. I suspect the whole pack has about 2000-3000mAh at best.

    Thank you for your work.

  5. #5
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    Hi guys. I did not have time this weekend to do what you told me to but I will try to get all the pics and my missing pic tonight.

  6. #6
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    I would say that this light is not at all good for "commute around the city". It blinds your fellow road users.
    I really get pissed of if I get blinded by other bikers. Please, if you are going to bike in traffic get a light that don't blind your fellow road users.

  7. #7
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    You make a good point Appel. Point is most of those led lights will blind incoming traffic. The way to commute properly is to adjust the lights so that they are pointing low enough not to be an annoyance and high enough to enable you to see....This is what I used to do with flashlights mounted on bikes.

  8. #8
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    Just a couple comments; First, I'm surprised anyone would do a review of a lamp that wasn't working properly right out of the box. This has to be a first. I also agree with ledoman that the battery is probably about 3000mAh. Before doing a review you should of contacted the seller to get a replacement. Most will replace the item without problem. Not unusual to get a bad cheap Chinese made lamp. Since you mentioned the sellers website it would be a good idea to let people know how they are handling the issue of the bad lamp. Only fair to give them the chance to replace the lamp....anyway...

    I own a similar Solarstorm X2 clone bought a couple years ago. Mine works and never had a problem with it. I bought mine from Manafont ( sadly which no longer exists ). Made for a decent helmet lamp for mountain biking. While I suppose you could use one on the bars for MTB the beam pattern really isn't that wide although people rode with narrow BP single emitter lamps on the bars for years so yes it can work on the bars.

    On the other hand I found the X2 clone to work very well on the bars of a road bike. With three levels of brightness you can easily power down and/or tilt the lamp head down to avoid blinding people who are directly in front of you. For road purposes you really don't need a super wide beam pattern. That said the X2 clones aren't as narrow as the single emitter MS type lamps, don't have their throw and aren't as wide as a duel emitter lamp with optics. If it weren't for the fact that these are so cheaply built I would recommend them for commuter purposes but likely they wouldn't last long if they had to endure periods of really hard rain.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat-man-do View Post
    Just a couple comments; First, I'm surprised anyone would do a review of a lamp that wasn't working properly right out of the box. This has to be a first. I also agree with ledoman that the battery is probably about 3000mAh. Before doing a review you should of contacted the seller to get a replacement. Most will replace the item without problem. Not unusual to get a bad cheap Chinese made lamp. Since you mentioned the sellers website it would be a good idea to let people know how they are handling the issue of the bad lamp. Only fair to give them the chance to replace the lamp....anyway...
    Hi cat. They did offer me to replace the headlamp (after my review) and then post an updated review. After reading here that this was available for ages and that it has been a good light though lately there have been cheap quality versions, I politely declined for the reasons mentioned above. No need to re-invent the wheel on a light that has been sold since 2013!

    I posted the review because they sent me the item. So why not review it?

    Still got a couple of pics to take and post! Been short of time lately with laptop repairs, a broken down bike and other RL stuffs!

    Quote Originally Posted by Cat-man-do
    If it weren't for the fact that these are so cheaply built I would recommend them for commuter purposes but likely they wouldn't last long if they had to endure periods of really hard rain.
    I think it could survive medium rain but I would be more concerned with the heat built up on high mode. It could fry the led imo.

  10. #10
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    The heat was one thing that doesn't concern me with the light, the head design and mass deals with the heat rather well as long as the version has good thermal contact between emitter PCB and case. One I have isn't bad at all for that compared to most solarstorm lights.

    And you'd be surprised what these lights run for temps. No one has problems burning up emitters (at least cree emitters) as their rated at 85C and thermal safety steps down around 55-60C, which means emitter is probably running right around 85C, so wont hurt a thing. Now the clone crap that's appearing now....who knows what they'll deal with. But without an infrared thermometer and such its really hard to check temps. 45C FEELS REALLY HOT to the touch, but in actuality that's a good solid and safe running temp.

  11. #11
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    I've seen something about 8 variants of this light including latest neutral white geniue Solarstorm from Kaidomain. There is so many different things internaly that you can't document them all. I know at least 5 different drivers, different PCBs, discs, etc...

    With all new I got in hands I've tried to fix thermal path and with some resistor mod. No one complains afterwards and they probably not use them in a rain, but they use them for MTB.

    I've also got one from a guy who burned one led and the other led was very dimm. the discs under led PCB were very loose. Fortunately I had one with damaged driver at hand so I could repair it with new leds.

    All in all, there are happy users out there. If it had good thermal path (paste at least) out of the box, this would not be that bad light. Not for the picky users like we are, but usable. I agree it could be very usable cheapo commuting light if it was waterproof.

    Edit: just got message from another user of SSX2 clone who has burnt out leds. Will get chance to inspect the light on Friday.
    Last edited by ledoman; 08-25-2015 at 02:49 AM.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by ledoman View Post
    ...It might happen they are even not Cree. I suspect they are LatticeBright ie. counterfeit of Cree XM-L. To prove that I need very good macro picture....
    Interesting....Just about a couple weeks ago I said I didn't think the Chinese had the tech to build high powered LED's. Well.....seems I was wrong about that....partly. I knew they would get around to it I just didn't know how soon.

    Seems the Chinese have paired up with some people from the USA and come up with some LED tech. Pretty much a new company. No telling how much volume they can move but "Yes" some of the stuff they sell looks very much like the Cree XP and XM series.

    That said they are selling these under their own brand name. Now if a lamp maker/seller sells a lamp using the LatticeBright brand and markets it as "Cree" than that is forgery. Otherwise, it's not.

    I did try to read one of the data sheets on the XM (Lattice) emitters but the Chinese don't give as much info as the Cree website. This is going to be something to watch for in the future. Right now it looks like the Chinese are copying the basic Cree designs so that is not something I really want to see. Than again, Cree has set the standards so if the Chinese intend to sell power LED's they will need to build to the same size and output requirements.

    I am interested in how Cree will handle this. Don't be surprised if they do like what other companies have done and just open a plant in China OR just buy out LatticeBright ( Hey, they bought out SSC didn't they.. )

  13. #13
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    The problem is there is a bunch of those already out there and we don't know its extend (you can't see it on first sight) and sellers don't know what they get. They only know what lights manufacturers told them. Then they both copy pictures from other sites where real Cree is. Manufacturers cut their expenses getting fake leds and users get what they pay for. Cheap light with substandard leds. We wanted it cheap, right? (me inlcuding )

    I suggest anyone read and monitor the thread at BLF -> The Fake-Cree LED Awareness Thread. | BudgetLightForum.com

  14. #14
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    Ok here you go guys.

    Pics of the led/ledboard

    SolarStorm X2 (with battery pack) Review - BUDGET Light-ledboard2.jpg

    SolarStorm X2 (with battery pack) Review - BUDGET Light-ledboard3.jpg

  15. #15
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    Yeap, fake cree emitters......stuff is going down hill fast.



    And you can't even look it up on their site, doesn't exist, can only find the x3.

    Thnx mountainking, helping us know what to look for in the cree emitter clones.

  16. #16
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    Thanks Mountainking.

    I was right. No Cree leds inside. Who knows what is also waiting for us to find out.

    Interesting, never seen that design in SSX2 clone with two separated compartment. looks like no heatsinking behind the led star.

  17. #17
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    Besides fake Cree emitters, note the high grade soldering job on the stars.
    GoPro adapters for bike lights http://www.pacifier.com/~kevinb/index.html

  18. #18
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    Ledoman, you made me look closer, now I want to know what's keeping the emitter PCB from falling through.

  19. #19
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    Unfortunately MK doesn't have DMM to check. It would be easy to isolate the problem if is the led or something else. The wires are not in the best shape as can be seen from the pictures.
    Interesting both leds are the same, but PCBs are different. MK did not tell which doesn't work.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by ledoman View Post
    MK did not tell which doesn't work.
    It's the LatticeBright one which does not work.

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