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  1. #1
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    Post Review of Ebay: 1800 Lumen CREE XML T6 LED Bicycle HeadLight Lamp

    My first light review:

    Advertised Specs:
    Emitter Type: XML T6 LED Output 1800 lumens
    Modes: High / Low / Strobe (high) with no memory
    Run Time: 180 minutes on High
    Battery pack: 1 x 8.4v Li-Ion 6400mAh Battery Pack
    Battery Charger: 115v with LED indication for Charging (Red) / Full charge (Green)
    Power Warning: Red Low Power behind tail click
    Helmet Strap: O-ring mount
    Head dimension: Light 43mm DIA
    Weight: 118g (lamp head) 200gm battery pack : Total 318gm

    My lighting needs for city commuting at night has always been adequate using a cheap handlebar mounted light. However due to a change in my route I now ride about 10km on paved trials where there is no lighting whatsoever. Ebay offered many of options ranging from cheap flashers to a high end NiteRider Pro kit. I needed robust and bright enough for commuting that wasnít going to cost me a arm and a leg. So I decided to try out one of the Chinese vendors who offered a hard-to-believe 1800 Lumen kit for under $60. I believe this light is a version of the popular Magic Shine lighting system.

    I knew that an output of 1800 Lumen was impossible with the XML T6 with the advertised setup. Still, I figured if the output was half it was still worth $60. After I ordering the light I was expecting it to take at least 4 weeks to arrive from China but I was pleasantly surprised to find it in my mailbox after 7 working days. Apparently the particular vendor operated out of Hong Kong so the shipping time was cut by 1/3rd.

    Kit Contents


    The kit came in a small box which contained the lamp, battery/charge, 2-Orings, Helmet strap/adapter, battery holder. At first sight the body was machined well with matt black anodizing. I was actually surprised with the quality of the workmanship. No burs, machine marks nor blotchy finishing. The threads were smooth and fitting was tight. The Aluminium reflector had a smooth finish instead of the Orange peel texture that was pictured in the ad. The LED was mounted on the board with a large heat-sink which threaded into the body. There was plenty of room in the housing for heat dissipation. The crowned Bezel has 6-points with a nice satin brushed finish. Under the glass lens there is a GITD (Glow in the Dark) silicon O-ring and silicon rubber tail cap. The tailcap switch is a reverse clicky with a LED battery indicator behind it.




    There were no markings on the board that indicated that the emmitter was actually the newest T6 but based on the pattern of the emitter (7-bar grid pattern) and the production date of 20110901 I'm pretty certain it's a XML. I was happy to see a nice blob of thermal paste for heat transfer. On the board all the the solder joints were clean.


    The battery pack appears to be 4 x18650 linked in series and bundled in heat shrink. It's hard to tell if these are protected cells and I didn't want to take off the heat shrink. The cable and connectors pushed together snugly but they lack weather sealed caps which would have been nice. When I plugged in the light I was surprised to find the the batteries already charged. I put it on a volt meter and it measured 7.9V on the 3rd charge. Not the advertised 8.4V. Maybe it needs a break in time

    ** Update **
    Burn Time
    On the 4th full charge the battery reached 8.27V in just over 6hrs. The charger was warm but the battery remained cool the entire time.

    High: 185 mins.
    A full 3+ hours exceeded my expectations. But the lamp got hot after running for 10mins. It was hot enough that I couldn't hold on to it for more then 30seconds. The battery was at normal indoor temperature (22 degrees). I ended up placing the lamp head in between an aluminium sliding door frame to help dissipate the heat.
    The backlit switch remained green the entire time with no low battery warning light.

    Low: testing in progress
    Strobe: in progress

    Beam Shots
    The beam was very bright but I donít have a light meter to measure it. The beam is very bright with a hot center with wide spillage. There are some small artifacts in the spot but not very noticable. It has excellent throw qualities but this is not ideal for a bike light. Comparing the beam side-by-side with my EagleTac P20A2 (which pumps out about 220Lm) this light seemed at least twice as bright.

    LEFT: Comparion to an EagleTac P20A2 with Sanyo Eneloops AAs. Spot lens on High.

    Wide Angle Lens
    Definitely a wider flood pattern is need for commuting. I decided to replace the stock lens with an aftermarket wide angle lens from Ebay. The Action Light lens was shipped out very quickly. Thanks Jim. It converted the 10 degree spot beam to a 10 degree high by 30 degree wide flood light. The beam pattern is rectangular in shape.



    Light comparions: Wall light is a CFL 40W Equivalent. The Garage light is a CFL 100 W Equivalent Compared to car headlights it is easily on par with BMW or Lexus HIDs
    I like the volume of light but would have much prefered a warmer light. I find the warmer temperatures giving an more accurate depth perception i.e. better CRI (Color rendering index)

    This might be a DIY project for later (if I find the time to learn how to replace it with a Warmer T5 Emitter).


    You can see the difference between the standard and wide angle pattern.
    Road beam Pattern on High: Spot vs Wide angle


    Trail beam Pattern on High: Spot vs Wide angle

    Mount
    I didnít even bother with the standard mount. A single O-ring didnít seem like very secure system and it doesnít lend itself for quick mounting and removal. So I discarded the mount and replaced it with one from my old Cateye H-24. An spacer plate was needed so I fabricated one from a piece of plexiglass. I drilled two holes for screws and made a channel for the wire. Then I modified the body by drilling/tapping 2 holes 8-32 to which the spacer is bolted on to. I add clear silicone to all holes and gaps to ensure good water resistance.



    Conclusion

    Good: Overall Iím happy with the light. The construction is solid with more then enough output for city communting needs. It reached a full burn time of 3hrs on High. The design and construction is simple which is attractive to tinkerers who plan to modify the light. An excellent value light.

    Bad: The spot light isn't ideal for a bike light so I'd recommend a wide angle lens especially for off trail. It is falsely advertised as 1800 Lm. At best it's probably in the range of 450-550 Lm. The O-ring friction mount seemed like an after thought. It definitely needs a better mounting system. There was no low battery warning indicator. The battery pouch is adequate but the strap is too long. It could use a second strap so to give a little more support. The option of a warmer T5 would make it almost perfect.

    Time will tell how many cycles the batter pack will last. When it dies I plan to build my own pack.

    At the time of this review the Ebay seller had 12614 feedback and 99.6% +ve
    Iíll update this thread with the Low burn time after I log more hours.
    Enjoy
    Last edited by spartacus001; 01-04-2012 at 06:34 AM.

  2. #2
    MB1
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    That may be the best and most complete review of anything I have ever read on RBR.

    Bravo for all the work.
    Quote Originally Posted by the_dude
    these are better than i was expecting, and my expectations were already rather high.

  3. #3
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    Thanks MB1,
    I'm more then happy to accept any bike products for review ... say a Pinarello dogma 2

  4. #4
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    do you have a link to the ebay seller or actual listings for the light?

  5. #5
    MB1
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    Quote Originally Posted by bane View Post
    do you have a link to the ebay seller or actual listings for the light?
    That is what Google is for....
    Quote Originally Posted by the_dude
    these are better than i was expecting, and my expectations were already rather high.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by bane View Post
    do you have a link to the ebay seller or actual listings for the light?
    PM'd you

  7. #7
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    thanks for the pm

  8. #8
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    * Edit *
    I added some burn time numbers

  9. #9
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    Very nice write-up. I disagree with your desire to switch a warmer color light. The higher Kelvin color light that you have is actually more efficient. I suspect the light is about 5000 Kelvin, which gives you some beneficial scotopic effects - in other words, your eye perceives there to be more light. This effect is far more important than the improved CRI that you would achieve with a warmer light.

    I am impressed with your $60 light. I don't know that I would have been brave enough to break out my drill and tap and attempt your retrofit solution.

    If I didn't have a head light that is 100% adequate, I would consider this one (I have the dinotte LED system and it cranks out the Lumens as well).

    Thanks.

  10. #10
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    Looks very similar to my "900 lumen" Magicshine. The lumens are definitely overstated, but they are bright lights nonetheless, particularly for the price. I haven't had any problems with the O-ring mount and actually prefer it some of the more complicated ones I have seen.

    My Magicshine was covered by the battery recall by Geoman, and it works well with the new batteries. However, the low-charge indicator doesn't work with the new batteries, so you have to keep track of the run time.

  11. #11
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    Lm are definitely overstated but there is still more then enough light for my needs.
    When ever I charge these non-name batteries I make sure they sit on top of a bare steel surface and I always monitor them. So far, so good. They are always cool to the touch.

  12. #12
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    After 3 years my 4400 mah MS battery packs are around 2/3 or 1/2 their original capacity. I'm going to spot weld some higher quality and higher capacity batteries in there this winter. I like the MS lights but never use the high beam unless I'm outside and moving on the bike because they get really hot.

    I use my helmet-mounted light around the house all the time. My little Petzl Tikka lamps are relegated to the bedside stand and flashlights are passť. I wish the MS lights had a low setting in addition to the medium so you could use them for hours and hours doing yard work at night during the hottest part of summer.

    I like the look of that Ebay diffraction lens.
    Last edited by esXso; 01-05-2012 at 09:15 PM.

  13. #13
    KWL
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    Thanks for the information that a 10x30 replacement lens exists and your photo comparison to the spot. (Hmmm...The Action LED Lights handlebar mount doesn't look too bad either.) Excellent review.
    Ken
    Ladonna Batiste-Williams: ďI married a goddam musician, Ainít no way to make that $#!↑ right.Ē

  14. #14
    More Cowbell!
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    Pro rep, yo!

  15. #15
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    I was hoping this lamp would problem free a little longer but since my original review I've run into some issues.

    I switched on the light during a night ride and it ran for about a minute then it shut off. It seems like the battery just ran out of juice.
    I plugged it into the charger and the LED indicator light was out. So I left it over night but it didn't charge the battery. I put a meter on it and the charger has died.

    I've order a replacement charger.


    I recieved a Sony laptop charger @ 8.4V 1.5A. Pretty close to the specs. of the original charger. I spliced the jack from the broken adapter, soldered and heat shrunk the splice.
    Put the battery in a metal tray and plugged in the charger. I monitored the temperature the entire time. The adapter was slightly warm and the batteries showed no signs of heat. After 5hrs it was done. The adapter was cold.
    Plugged in the light. Bingo! Back to night riding.



    The old adapter just died. Other then no LED there was no other warning. No burning smell, no excessive heat. Probably a bad transformer or capacitor.
    How I mounted MTB shifters on Drop Bars
    http://forums.roadbikereview.com/com...st3483521.html

    Light Review Cree XML 1800 Lumen
    http://forums.roadbikereview.com/com...mp-269236.html

  16. #16
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    Update on DIY replacement batteries. I replaced the original 4 (first generation Magic Shine) with Panasonic 3100 mah batteries using a Weller 80 watt soldering pen (40 watt Weller with its fat tip would have worked fine) and now the pack seems to have bottomless capacity. I often ride at night for several hours but have yet to deplete the modified pack. Guessing it would run about 2.5 hours on high and 4.5 hours on low but don't know for certain yet. Seems to take twice as long to recharge now.
    Last edited by esXso; 06-21-2012 at 10:15 AM.

  17. #17
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    Hi there. I am new to lights and took a shot on some of the cree xml t6's. The lights are really bright - agreed. But unfortunately, one of the battery packs drains after less than 2 minutes on high and the other only lasts abut 40 mins. So obviously, I cannot use them. Feel like a fool now ordering from china bc I am gettingthe runarounsd that I will have to pay for shipping back to asia (even though their site says they would pay return shipping on defective merchandise). SO now I am left with two lights and two paperweights. Is there a way I can rig up some similar batteries myself or use a different pack that will work with these lights? I don't want to oreder the replacement packs i have found online because they are all from China and "fool me once, shame on you......" Is there a comaprable pack from another North American company? Is there an easy way to do this myself? Sorrry....I am a newb to this.

  18. #18
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Your estimate of the actual Lumens is probably darn close to correct. I compared my Cygolite MityCross 480 to a friends former MagicShine 1200 lumen light and mine was actually a tad brighter in distance, and you could see my beam's center over his beam's center, but his had a slightly broader beam. And the beam shots done by MTBR show a lessor 800 Lumen Magicshine and the beam barely shows up on the shot while lessor Lumen lights show up better.

    The killer deal on E-Bay now is a 2300 Lumen bike light for only $46; see: 2300 Lumens CREE XM L T6 GXP R5 LED Bicycle Light Headlight Headlamp | eBay This will probably be closer to 1100 Lumens but at $46 for that much power is great. And since your only spending about as much for that light as a replacement battery cost for a MagicShine you're not out as much money should the light die like the MagicShines do.

  19. #19
    Ya, what ATP said...!
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    Wow, a year old review and it's still spot on and fresh. I missed this one originally so thanks to others for bumping it to the top. I just started my third winter commuting with a MagicShine which is probably its last I would imagine. The housing on the power has pulled away from the both the light and the plug exposing the wires inside and it's only a matter of time before the light shorts out and leaves me in the dark. This will define be a strong contender when I look for a replacement.

    Thanks again!

  20. #20
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fogdweller View Post
    Wow, a year old review and it's still spot on and fresh. I missed this one originally so thanks to others for bumping it to the top. I just started my third winter commuting with a MagicShine which is probably its last I would imagine. The housing on the power has pulled away from the both the light and the plug exposing the wires inside and it's only a matter of time before the light shorts out and leaves me in the dark. This will define be a strong contender when I look for a replacement.

    Thanks again!
    Three years is a very short period of time for a light. Of course in regards to MagicShine that's a long time for their lights. My MagicShine lasted 2 months and their customer service at the time Geoman had died sucked, I sent the light under warranty time period and they still have the light I sent in around two years ago, and they never answered any of my e-mails. A friend of mine bought a newer version of the MagicShine then what I had and his lasted a year and two or three months before it failed.

    I have an old low end Cygolite Metro I bought about 18 years ago and that darn thing still works after a lot of commuting with it in various weather! The Metro shows no signs of wear or cable stress after all that time; though now it's retired due to getting brighter LED technology lights. My Cygolite Mitycross is now two years old and it shows no signs of wear or cable stress. And if cable stress is a concern then why get a light with a separate battery? There are a lot of bright lights on the market now that have self contained rechargeable batteries, one of the brightest of such at a low cost is the Cygolite ExpiliOn 700 which is as bright as a 1200 lumen MagicShine if not brighter because the Chinese knockoffs over rate their lumens by at least twice as much as they really have. And if you can afford it the Phillips Saferide 80 is even brighter due to beam shaping.

    My point in my earlier post is that if you want a cheap light like the MagicShine that will last one to three years then get the light I mentioned on E-bay, it cost less the half the cost of the MagicShine so you will be out less money when it breaks.

    Here is a beam comparison of a few lights on the market: http://reviews.mtbr.com/2012-bike-li...pattern-photos

    And Performancebike.com now has beam comparisons for most of their lights including the ExpiliOn 700 which is their second brightest light, their brightest light costs about 3 times more!

  21. #21
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    Just bought one and have the second on the way. I only paid $39 for mine and am very impressed for the money spent. My biggest concern is that the connector at the battery end is weak and I can see it breaking with prolonged use and the connector cable is not the tightest junction and is easily disconnected with just the weight of the battery pack. You get what you pay for as far as build quality, but in this case you get a whole heck of a lot of light for the money.

    I have bought quite a few led's from this chinese distributer and even splurged on their $99 6000 lumens flashlight....can't wait to see that one in action. It may be a little heavy for a bike, but even at half the advertised luminosity it should light up a trail nicely ;~)

  22. #22
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by TickDoc View Post
    Just bought one and have the second on the way. I only paid $39 for mine and am very impressed for the money spent. My biggest concern is that the connector at the battery end is weak and I can see it breaking with prolonged use and the connector cable is not the tightest junction and is easily disconnected with just the weight of the battery pack. You get what you pay for as far as build quality, but in this case you get a whole heck of a lot of light for the money.

    I have bought quite a few led's from this chinese distributer and even splurged on their $99 6000 lumens flashlight....can't wait to see that one in action. It may be a little heavy for a bike, but even at half the advertised luminosity it should light up a trail nicely ;~)
    Which one did you get?

    Do a review for us after you use it for awhile I'm sure a lot of people, especially those considering the MagicShine will be very interested.

    You can count on the lumens to be about half of the factory rated, but like you said it will light up the path nicely. And besides for those prices you could go crazy with lighting by getting a second one and still be lower in total price of just one Magicshine and light up the path like it was daytime!

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by froze View Post
    Which one did you get?

    Do a review for us after you use it for awhile I'm sure a lot of people, especially those considering the MagicShine will be very interested.
    Will do. I'm too cheap to buy any high-end light for comparison, but if we know the 1600 lumen light is in the 500 range then it should be an easy side-by-side.

  24. #24
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    Wow.
    12K+ views and counting. I'm flattered with the ongoing discussion since my original post a year ago.

    Time for an update:

    After a year of moderate use the battery capacity is only functioning at 20%.
    I always carry 3 light sources but 2 of them failed because of battery issues.
    On my commute home last night the Ebay light cut out at around 35mins (high) after an overnight charge. I had to finish the ride with only a small blinker and 10km was in pitch dark.

    The original charger died after 6 months and had to be replaced.
    So now I plan on building a custom 2S2P battery pack with a set of high quality 3100mAH 18650s

    In the end it costed me $60+ for a year of lighting. *meh*
    Nothing lasts forever but I was expecting a little more longevity then a year.

    In hind sight, if I had to do it all over again I would spend a little more money for a quality light. So if you have this light or you're considering it, don't set your expectations too high. You get what you pay for.

    I'll keep you guys posted on my build.
    How I mounted MTB shifters on Drop Bars
    http://forums.roadbikereview.com/com...st3483521.html

    Light Review Cree XML 1800 Lumen
    http://forums.roadbikereview.com/com...mp-269236.html

  25. #25
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    Cool. Are you using the same MS charger or an aftermarket LiON charger?
    How I mounted MTB shifters on Drop Bars
    http://forums.roadbikereview.com/com...st3483521.html

    Light Review Cree XML 1800 Lumen
    http://forums.roadbikereview.com/com...mp-269236.html

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