Archives for posts with tag: LED

Ultra Fire Flashlight Review • WCXC

I got this UltraFire XML-T6 LED flashlight as a Christmas gift last year. At first I wasn’t sure where to place it in the product pantheon. The branding looked Chinese and a bit knock-offy. The aluminum body, while not top quality, felt rugged and substantial. The flashlight’s lens could be pulled in and out to focus from a wide beam to a tight, bright square pattern.

A little more research revealed that they are basically knock-offs of the SureFire brand of flashlights that run in the $100 to $400 range. The branding is a bit fluid. There’s UltraFire, SuperFire, and others. That said, it doesn’t seem like a cheap knock off. It performs well. It has a high-quality Cree bulb and throws a REALLY bright beam. And here’s the kicker. It comes with two batteries and a charger, and it’s only $14.

When I first got it, I only charged one battery because that’s all that slid out of the tube. The light stayed lit for maybe an hour before it started to blink and signal that it was dying. Once I figure out that it runs on two batteries, and charged both, it’s been running fine.

The button on the back will cycle through the following modes with each half-press of the button: high beam, medium beam, low beam, strobe, SOS.

I haven’t don’t any waterproof testing. The rear cap is fitted with an o-ring but the front lens housing unscrews to reveal no o-ring. At that price I don’t care though. I don’t expect it to perform as well as a $400 flashlight. And I don’t know that I believe the 1600 lumen rating. That said, the beam is very bright and the flashlight certainly performs many times better than it’s $14 dollar price tag suggests it should.

So, yes, a Chinese knock-off, but one that so far delivers quite a bit of light-up-the-night bang for your buck.

Update 4/7/2014:
The specs for the Cree XM-L T6 LED is 280–300 lumens at 700mA, according to

Amazon: UltraFire XML-T6 Flashlight

Ultra Fire, company site

Flashlight Wiki: UltraFire

Flashlight Wiki: Cree XM-L LED Bulb Specs


A few weeks ago we decided to get a new spotlight. Our old halogen spot is big, fairly heavy, and stays lit for about 20 minutes per charge, which I was surprised to find, is fairly average performance. Given the advances in LED lighting, I figured an upgrade was in order.

On our wishlist was a water-resistant spotlight that could be charged on 110v or 12v (without running an engine) and provide at least an hour of light at full charge. After some research I selected the Cyclops Sirius 500, which was everything we were looking for and more.

As the name suggests, it packs a 500-lumen punch. Three high-power, Cree LEDs provide a tightly focused beam. Flip the high-low switch and a pull of the trigger will engage six low-power LEDs instead, so you won’t blind yourself looking through your backpack or finding your keys on the camp table.

The Sirius 500 is compact, comfortable to hold, and burns for over 4 hours on a full charge, and that’s on high power. Switch to low (45 lumens) and it’ll burn 10 times as long.

This spotlight is impressive. Rowing ashore the other night we could easily identify buildings that were over 400 yards away.

Other features? A locking ON switch and a red lens, in case you need to preserve your night vision.

All of this for about $56 on Amazon. I was sold.


A few months ago I thought it would be cool to convert my turn signals and brake lights to LEDs. I had seen them on my friend Greg’s truck and I liked the crisp on/off quality. I thought it updated the look of the truck and, of course, LEDs use much less power and last practically forever. In this post I’ll tell you everything you need to know to make the switch to LEDs, and I’ll also tell you why I opted not to do it, for now. Read the rest of this entry »