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Review: DGX 600 vs Xtar D26 vs $22 eBay light

Discussion in 'Lights' started by stuartv, Jun 28, 2016.

  1. stuartv

    stuartv Seeking the Light

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Manassas, VA
    7,742
    3,481
    113
    I've been diving with DGX 600 lights from Dive Gear Express for over a year. They are nice lights and DGX is a great company to deal with. But, the DGX 600 has a couple of characteristics that I wish were different.

    - I wish I could turn it on/off with one hand.

    - I wish it had a way to operate at different brightness levels.

    I saw a couple of threads here recently. The "Cheap eBay light" thread drew my attention to this $22 3 x LED light.

    5000LM XM-L T6 Waterproof LED Diving Flashlight Torch Light 8-Mode NEW N8TO

    It has 3 of the LEDs that the DGX 600 has, so it seems like it should be a lot brighter. And it uses 1 x 26650 battery, so it should be able to run about as long as the DGX 600. And it has different power levels, so if I run it at a lower level (say, only the same brightness as the DGX 600), it should last a lot longer on a charge. And the on/off ring may allow me to operate it with one hand. So I bought one.

    I also saw the Xtar marketing thread in Hot Deals where they mentioned the D26 and it caught my attention.

    XTAR D26 Scuba Diving Flashlight Cree XM-L2 U3 LED 1100 Lumens Dive Torch 18650

    $63 on eBay with no battery or charger. It takes 1 x 26650, and comes with a sleeve to let you use an 18650 instead. And it has the same 1 x LED that the DGX 600 has. So, in theory it should be approximately the same brightness. It's a bit more expensive, as the DGX 600 is $50 and includes a decent quality battery and a charger. But, the Xtar has push button on/off. The button can be twisted to lock, to prevent accidental presses. The bigger battery should allow it to run quite a bit longer. It has an LED that indicates battery status. And it has multiple levels of brightness. So I bought one.

    EDIT: I forgot to mention that the Xtar light also has a threaded hole on the bottom (i.e. opposite from the on/off button). I believe it is threaded to mount onto a standard tripod screw (1/4-20?). I'm thinking I'm going to try and make a cheap soft Goodman handle with the light mounted using a tripod thumb screw.

    I just did a little comparison of the beams and here are the results.

    The Xtar and DGX seem almost identical when the Xtar is set at its brightest level. The Xtar beam seems just a tiny bit tighter (i.e. slightly less beam angle). The Xtar is a little bit larger, physically. Choosing between them, to me, just comes down to whether you want to pay a little extra for the extra features the Xtar light offers.

    The cheBay (cheap eBay) light seems to be not as bright as the other two. The beam angle is a bit less, so even if they were otherwise identical I would expect it to look a little less bright. But, with 3 LEDs that are the same as the single LED in the other 2 lights, I expected it to be brighter, even though it's a little wider beam. And the cheBay light is quite a bit more bulky.

    My conclusion: I would not buy another of the cheBay lights. It's just not that much more money for a better light, and I consider both the other lights to be better. There is nothing about the cheBay light that would make up for its bulk - to me, of course.

    Xtar (left), DGX (middle), cheBay light (right)
    [​IMG]

    Xtar (left), DGX (right)
    [​IMG]

    cheBay (left), DGX (right)
    [​IMG]

    DGX (left), Xtar (middle), cheBay (right)
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2016
    Hatul, undrwater and drrich2 like this.
  2. fmerkel

    fmerkel Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Salish Sea (Seattle)
    1,473
    504
    113
    I suspect you know by now Chines lumens need to be 'adjusted' a lot.....sometime a whole lot. 5000LM is positively ridiculous, maybe 600-800. The bigger the lie, the larger the deception.
    I can almost guarantee that the switch is not rust proof and will go to hell in saltwater in a pretty short time. I have one that is similar and is operated by a simple carbon steel spring pushing a cheap tiny carbon steel ball bearing into some detents. The spring and bearing rust out.....fast.

    Xtar tends to make decent products, at least I like their chargers. I have no experience with that light.
     
    stuartv likes this.
  3. stuartv

    stuartv Seeking the Light

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Manassas, VA
    7,742
    3,481
    113
    Yeah, I knew the 5000 lumen thing was completely ridiculous. But, it has 3 LEDs that are supposed to be the same LEDs that the other lights have, but only 1 of. So, I figured it *could* be twice as bright and that that might be nice. NBD. It was only $22... :)

    Oh, and I have an Opus charger that I like better than anything I could find from Xtar. The Opus has 4 slots and will do anything from AAA up to (at least) 26650s. Though it will only do 2 x 26650s at one time.

    The thing I like about it that I couldn't find in other chargers is that it has a Test mode and a Discharge Refresh mode that will tell you how much capacity the battery has. And it will rejuvenate some batteries that have seemingly lost some capacity. I use it to test my 18650 batteries, so I know which ones are good. And I have used it to refresh a couple of batteries that were testing way below their capacity. After the Discharge Refresh cycle they were back to testing close to their rated capacity.
     
  4. Derelict

    Derelict Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    134
    22
    18
    The more LEDs makes no difference to the brightness as it's the battery and the circuit set up that controls the brightness. I was trying to fix a friends torch that didn't work on arrival and managed to get it working for a while but one of the leds died. As a result, the two remaining LEDs became brighter. That means they will share the brightness.

    The switching set up on the eBay light is a simple magnetic style. It's just a piece of plastic with magnets that trigger the electronic circuit as they slide past it. So it will probably last a while as all the actual switching takes place internally.
     
  5. stuartv

    stuartv Seeking the Light

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Manassas, VA
    7,742
    3,481
    113
    So you're saying that a light with 3 LEDs CANNOT be brighter than another light with 1 of the same LEDs?

    If that's not what you're saying, then I don't understand what your point is, because it seems to be telling me that my thought that the 3 LED light *could* be twice as bright was simply ignorant and unrealistic.
     
  6. Derelict

    Derelict Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    134
    22
    18
    Jeez, mind the hostility...

    You said you expected it to be brighter. I was explaining to you why you should not have made that expectation.

    There's nothing to say that it could not be brighter, but for a cheap torch you wouldn't have quality parts inside to create that scenario.
     
  7. stuartv

    stuartv Seeking the Light

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Manassas, VA
    7,742
    3,481
    113
    My apologies. I didn't intend it to sound hostile.

    The cheBay light and the DGX (which comes from a U.S. company and includes a decent quality battery - according to my Opus tester - and a charger) seem to me to be in roughly the same price class, when you factor out the extras and the U.S. retailer overhead. Your post does not make it clear to me why it was wrong to expect the cheBay light to be brighter - even if only a smidge.
     
  8. fmerkel

    fmerkel Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Salish Sea (Seattle)
    1,473
    504
    113
    LED's are 'binned', which is essentially sorted out by color and quality (vastly simplified explanation). Cheap lights come from the bottom of the 'bin'. Then they have to be interfaced with a 'driver'. Cheap lights get crappy drivers. There can be a HUGE difference between LEDs of the same category depending on the 'bin', and what driver is being used. I just compared my 5 LED canister light to a buddy's UTD single LED light. Not much difference to the naked eye and I had 5x as many LED's. His light cost 3x more. His battery cost as much as my light.

    Got an Opus myself (and about 4 hobby chargers and a number of high end NiXX chargers). Use it for single cell Li-on testing. It's a good charger. Once tested I tend to use my Xtar more simply because it is plug and charge simple.
     
  9. KDAD

    KDAD Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Northern New Jersey
    505
    220
    43
    Actually the cheap ebay light looks a little brighter but it's beam is spread out more so it loses some of the light. LED lights have three main components that affect their illumination. The LED emitter is the first but there is more to it. Behind it is the electronics which drive the emitter aND can affect how bright the emittens are. And then there is the reflector which focuses the beam. The cheap ebay light doesn't have as good as a reflector as the the other two lights. It has more of a flood beam than a spot beam and that may get washed out underwater. So the second and third led don't necessarily make it brighter.

    Can you do a side by side test underwater? Would be more appropriate as that is where our use is of interest.
     
  10. stuartv

    stuartv Seeking the Light

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Manassas, VA
    7,742
    3,481
    113
    I will work on it.
     

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