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What's the latest/greatest single 18650 light nowadays?

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What's the latest/greatest single 18650 light nowadays?

Old 08-05-11, 12:15 AM
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dougmc
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What's the latest/greatest single 18650 light nowadays?

I've got my P7s, my M-BINs and I'm looking to buy another light or two from DX.

What's the latest and greatest emitter nowadays? Which light is the one to get?
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Old 08-05-11, 02:45 AM
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8Fishes
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I have a 18650, and I think the upper limit to these lights are going to be about 450 lumens OTF.
SST-90s and XM-Ls seem to be where it's at these days.
I have a single cell light that does about 200 lumens and thought about upgrading but none of the current lights I see really give me that "ompf" sensation when I look at beam shots and reviews. That is to say, while it is possible to get some really high lumens OTF, the battery life will suffer. I think if you want something long lasting and extremely bright, you are going to need to stack a larger capacity cell.

I am more of a flashlight guy than a bike guy though, so I plan to get 26650s and stick them into something that'll throw out 800+ lumens on an SST-90 for a good 2+ hours.
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Old 08-05-11, 09:54 AM
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M-BIN was a little better than P7, I recall hearing that there's a new one out but don't know anything about it.

I usually don't run my lights at full brightness anyways -- but the newer emitters do tend to be more efficient and/or brighter (but not, as you said, by a large margin) so if there's a specific light I should go after, I'd do so.

I've found the 18650 lights to be fine for my needs. I bring two, and keep a spare battery in my pack. Most of the time I'm at medium brightness on one light, but I can go to high brightness and/or use both lights if needed.

I've never used 26650s, but considering that the 18650 lights will do 400 lumens for about an hour with an about 2400 mAh battery, I'm skeptical that a 4000 mAh 26650 battery can give you 800 lumens for 2+ hours. Unless that light uses two or three of them?
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Old 08-05-11, 12:45 PM
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Latest trend these days is the Cree XML T6. It's more efficient than the P7. It has a lower Vf which means better consistency output throught the range of the battery life. They are typically driven at 2.5 to 2.8 amps and yield about 800 manufactor rated lumens. At that current draw, you only get about an hour of runtime.

The Die is smaller than a P7 which means you will have less flood and better throw. Most likely you will see a hot spot. Since the Die is larger than a Cree XPG R5, it provide better flooding than a XPG R5 but not as much as the P7. IMO, the P7 has too much spill and lots of the lumens are wasted on the spill.

One thing to keep in mind is the tint. I myself often forget to check the tint and ends up getting XML lights that are too much toward neutral or way too blue. Then there are some lights that are toward the greenish side of the tint.

Another member here hinted me about the 26650 Maelstrom X10 light by 4sevens. I looked into it and very tempted to get one. It runs something like 1hr 50m on a single 26650. The output is much more than the claim lumen output. Reviews are showing this lights to yeild over 700 lumens. It also has a very good throw. All good things comes with a price. After the lights, charger and extra 26650 battery, you're looking at $150

Last edited by colleen c; 08-05-11 at 12:49 PM.
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Old 08-05-11, 01:41 PM
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dougmc;
What I usually look at are single cell lights like you, and running them in a series doesn't increase runtime. The only difference between the 18650 and 26650 is as you can already tell is that one cell has a larger diameter, hence larger volume so it can have a larger capacity. I wouldn't be surprised if you can use a 18650 cell on 26650 lights but you would need to have a spacer to keep the battery centered and rattling. Runtimes wouldn't be that great since the capacity of 16850 is a 25 percent less than a 26650. If you don't run the lights on full and carry extra cells I would just think you can turn the lights up for more lumens than choosing to add more lights to the bar/helmet. It's going to be the simpler solution IMO than spending a whole lot on a new fancy light.


The maelstorm series is exactly why I am considering switching to a 26650 cell 4sevens usually makes a quality light. I am thinking the S12 is more of an ideal light for a single light solution since it has higher lumen output and flood, it should make me more annoying/visible to cars at night.
X10 is more of a thrower, but I guess if you have a multiple light setup it doesn't matter. But then again the X10 does last longer, and is the cheaper light. I have also seen a few charts showing the difference between the two is less than ideal but I guess that's real world performance.
Either way I think it'll cost 150~ due to needing new batteries. So I'm not going to jump on them just yet.

Last edited by 8Fishes; 08-05-11 at 01:57 PM. Reason: forgot stuff...
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Old 08-05-11, 02:36 PM
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I am more of a flashlight guy than a bike guy though, so I plan to get 26650s and stick them into something that'll throw out 800+ lumens on an SST-90 for a good 2+ hours.
I'm not sure that would work out that way - at least one of those 26650's is going to get awfully hot.

Having used three different XM-L lights now - I've found very little need for the "high" setting as well. (>500 lumen) I did find a considerable difference in their tint.

I'm looking for the lightest 1x18650 XM-L thrower possible. I want to try attaching it with velcro to a helmet

I'm using a Solarforce M8 on my handlebar - and using it in 1x18650 format at 500 lumen rather than 2x18650 at 800 lumen. (but its big and heavy and has no intermediate power setting) So the reason I use it in single cell format is to get the "all night" run time I require. I never need the continuous run time anyway - its too hot and I'll stop for a snack or water first.
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Old 08-05-11, 06:44 PM
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I'd think that both of them get pretty hot honestly, but I would also like to think that night time riding plus having the wind blowing across the fins would help keep it cool. the maelstorm lights also have an regular circuit for better or worse, so the light isn't going to burn out if it gets too hot.

Tint is always going to be an issue too. I don't usually like getting cool white lights and prefer neutral white or even warm whites but no one hardly makes these tints. Market demand simply isn't around. Don't know which is the 'lightest' lights but I have seen some cool custom 'pocket rockets' come in at 70g made out of Al w/o battery. The only thing with this light is that it's pretty small so it's more of a flood than thrower. If you want throw, you're going to need something that'll have a big head/reflector to focus the lumens.

I've thought about getting this light, still not decided IMO but here's a picture if you're interested.
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