Author Topic: Olight X7 Marauder  (Read 7622 times)

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Offline JohnnyMac

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Olight X7 Marauder
« on: October 30, 2016, 07:56:33 PM »

Olight X7 Marauder 3*XHP70  9000 Lumen Flashlight Bundle With 4*18650 Cells and SkyBen USB Light

* Flashlight provided for review courtesy of SkyBen Trade on Amazon

When SkyBen asked offered me the opportunity to review the new Olight X7 Marauder I gladly took them up on it.  With 9000 claimed lumens, this is one of the brightest mass produced flashlights on the market. Does it live up to the claims?  Is it as good as it looks?  Let's find out.

Olight and SkyBen Trade's Product Description

Featuring 9000 lumens in a “soda can” sized light to provide the power of the sun in the palm of your hand. The X7 Marauder carries three four core light-emitting XHP70 LED’s which are currently one of the highest performing light sources on the planet. The light features a custom designed orange peel reflector to create the perfect beam pattern for logical and realistic use. People ask, why would someone need 9000 lumens? Well the X7 offers 6 modes at various brightness levels going all the way down to 3 lumens which mimics a small keychain flashlight. The 9000 lumen setting provides a sensation of daylight when shined in a pitch black environment with a soft tone so it is not blinding to the eye. The X7 features a groundbreaking active thermal management system. The MCU detects the flashlights internal temperature in real time to prevent overheating to the user’s hand and flashlight

FEATURES
• Uses three top-class cool white CREE XHP 70 LED with a total of 12 light-emitting cores.
•A maximum output of 9000 lumens which is great for strong illumination and minimum output of 3 lumens, which is suitable for long periods of using at night.
•The switch on bezel side controls the flashlight, which has three common brightness levels: 3000 lumens, 1000 lumens and 300 lumens; plus turbo modes: 5500 lumens and 9000 lumens; nightlight mode: 3 lumens; and a strobe at 10Hz.
•Double press the side switch quickly to activate the Turbo (5500 lumens) mode, and double press quickly again to access the Turbo S (9000 lumens) mode.
•Low-voltage indicator monitors the battery power level while the light is on, which will glow red when the battery power is running low.
•Active Thermal Management: MCU detects the flashlight temperature through the internal thermal sensor in real time, and prevents overheating by reducing the output.

Package Include
Holster;Instruction Manual;Car Sticker;Skyben USB light,4*3500mAh 18650 Batteries

Bundle w/Batteries Price: $234.98

Bundle w/o Batteries Price: $170.39

This product has the following specifications (ANSI/NEMA FL1-2009 Standards):

Max Output (lumens)          9000
Low (lumens)                     3
Max Run Time (hours)       30 days
Beam Distance                   313 m
Peak Beam Intensity           24,500 cd
Water Resistance               IPX8 (waterproof up to 2 meters)
Impact Resistance              1 m
Head Diameter                   2.68 in. / 68mm
Length                                5 in. / 127mm
Battery Type                      18650
Weight (oz)                        16.6000
Pocketclip                          No
User Manual                       Yes

PERFORMANCE

The X7 Marauder bundle comes with 4 high drain Olight 3500mAh 18650 cells.  I tested with those cells at 4.2V as well as with Samsung 25R 18650 cells to see if there is any difference in output.  There wasn't and I achieved the same results with either type of cells installed.  In this aspect, the Olight cells performed well, once they were performing correctly (see my notes in my Conclusion section at the bottom of the review.   Testing is performed according to ANSI/NEMA FL1 standards.  OTF lumen testing is done with my calibrated Integrating Sphere.  Lux and Throw are measured from 8.9m and converted back to 1m.

Back to the Output testing...

My testing is performed on a calibrated Integrating Sphere for OTF lumens.  Turbo readings are taken after 30 seconds of On time according to ANSI/NEMA FL1 standards.  Lux and Throw measurements are taken at 8.9m distance and converted back to 1m.  Readings are taken after 30 seconds of runtime based on ANSI/NEMA FL1 standard.  All cells are fully charged to 4.2V and only high drain cells are used in testing.

Beam Shots

^ I chose to compare the Olight X7 with the most similar lights I own at the moment.  I have 3 Niwalker lights coming tomorrow but unfortunately the one that is not included in the 3 is the only light that would have come closest to the Olight X7, the Niwalker MM25MB with 7800 lumens.  Oh that it was one of the three.  Oh well.  The 4 lights I am comparing are within 100 or so lumens of each other in Turbo mode but make those lumens by very different means.  It's the Turbo S mode in the X7 Marauder that puts it over the other lights here.  The only one that puts more lumens in a given point is the Meteor M43 with its tight hot spot but at the expense of spill thanks to its dedomed emitters.  In overall lumens the X7 is still the new boss among these four lights.  Below is what they look like at their highest output settings.

^ I had to shoot my beam photos in the back yard and didn't think it would matter since they are all basically flood torches.  What I didn't plan on is my camera not being able to handle the massive light they produce. I set my manual camera settings as best I could but 1 second exposure, its lowest long exposure, was still too much.  They don't look this intense in person but you can still appreciate the differences in output between the four lights.

^ The animated gif above is one I took a few weeks ago when I first received the X7.  It includes the 4 lights above plus a few others.

USER INTERFACE

The UI on the X7 Marauder is pretty much like all the "S" model lights they have which also means it's a damned good one and one of my favorites.  The single electronic switch controls all output settings. 

In a very pleasant surprise, the X7 contains a nice Low that is nearly a Moon low.  One of my complaints about the R50 Seeker was a lack of Moon low in such a small EDC style light.  One reader took offense at my complaint and defended the lack of Moon low on the R50 being a Search and Rescue light and therefore shouldn't have Moon low.  Now the X7 IS a Search and Rescue light but Olight decided (very wisely) to add a Moon low to it.  This makes the X7 so much more useful than the R50, especially as a camp light and around the house..

From OFF

  • Long press activates the X7 in Moon low
  • Quick press activates the X7 in the last mode used (memory) Only Moon, Low, Medium, or High are memorized when light is switched Off.
    • Both Turbo and Turbo S are supposed to be memorized as "High" mode but only for 10 minutes of Off time after which point "High" mode reverts to actual High mode.  I was unable to make this happen and, IIRC from another review of the X7, this is not uncommon.
  • Double-click activates Turbo.  Double-click again to activate Turbo S mode.
  • Triple-click to enter Strobe mode

From ON

  • Single press from any  mode turns the X7 Off
  • Press and hold cycles between Low, Medium and High.  Release when mode wanted is active.
  • Double-click to enter Turbo.  Double-click again to enter Turbo S mode

Electronic Lockout

  •  To Lock: Press and hold the switch.  It will enter Moon low but continue to hold and it will turn off (about 2 seconds).
    • Once in lockout, pressing the switch will engage Moon low for half a second then it will go out again.
  • To Unlock:  Press and hold until Moon low comes On then goes out then comes on again (about 2 seconds).

^ The X7 feels good in the hand.  Everything about the light looks and feels like a scaled up version of the smaller "S" series lights.  Unlike the R50 Seeker, the switch on the X7 is extremely easy to locate by feel.  It's location near the very front of the light makes it very comfortable with my thumb falling right on the switch.  The switch itself has  nice feel to it with just the right amount of tactile pressure and feedback.  The whole light feels like it's made from one large block of aluminum.  Simply an impressively solid little light.  It's also much smaller in person than it looks like it would be from photos of it.  It's about the same size of one of it's main "wall of light" competitors, the Thrunite TN36.

A CLOSER LOOK

Let's go in for a closer look to see just what you'll get with the Olight X7. 

^  The X7 Marauder arrived in a sealed, beautiful presentation box with large, easy to open lid and magnetic closure.

^  The back of the box lists the light's features and output specifications.  One thing I really respect about Olight is they acknowledge that output ratings utilize a step-down from the highest mode(s) and aren't afraid to list these changes in output and runtime.  All flashlight manufacturers use these step-downs (based either on time or thermal temps) but very few openly admit it and use it in their marketing.

^  Opening the box you will find a very firm, precision fitted foam liner that holds the X7 perfectly.  To make it easier to pull the light from its packing, it even includes a ribbon that when pulled will lift the light from it's fitted slot.  All accessories are located in the inner box below the light.  All together it's the kind of packaging one should expect from a light that is not exactly inexpensive.  It reminds me very much like a new smart phone packaging from Samsung of Apple.

^  Inside the accessory box you will find a very nice nylon holster, warranty card, "Olight" sticker, and user manual.

 

^ When you buy the package from SkyBen.Trade they include their little USB light.  Makes a handy little night light when plugged into a wall wart.

^  Also like a cell phone, there is even a protective film over the glass that most of us love to remove on a new phone.  It's a cool little touch that means your new X7 should be free from finger prints.  Just grab that little tab visible in the photo above and peel off the protective film.

^  These three cool white Cree XHP70 emitters sit in the center of three overlapping 29mm HOP reflectors.

^  With the film removed from the Ultra clear, double-sided AR coated lens, the lens is nearly invisible.

^  The blue anodized Stainless Steel lens and switch bezels carry on Olight's now classic styling cues.  I love the look of the cobalt blue trim against the satin black anodizing.  The anodizing, BTW, is absolutely flawless with no bare spots of discolorations.

The electronic switch has a nice little raised "Olight" logo on it that makes it easier to locate by feel than the perfectly smooth, flat switch on the R50 Seeker.  Also making it easier to locate switch is the raised section where the switch is located coupled with a protective recess  where the switch is located.  This allows for super easy finding of the switch in the dark while still helping prevent accidental activation when stowed.

^  All engraving on the Olight X7 is crisp and bright white.  Below the model name is the Serial Number of the light.

^  Located 90 degrees to the left of the switch is a flush covered LED that gives battery warning for low voltage.  There is actually nothing in the User Manual about this little feature.  Lots of cleanly machined fins help manage the heat produced by the big emitters.

^  Knurling on the X7 is a scaled up version of the square design Olight is known for.

^  The smooth lines make it easy to slide the X7 into the included holster.  The tube is as thick as one would expect for 4 cells arranged in parallel (2S2P actually) but it's still very easy to hold and quite comfortable.

^  The tail cap of the light is very smooth and flat.  It tail stands perfectly and is rock solid.

^  Unthreading the tail cap for the first time reveals the included high-drain Olight cells.  The green and clear plastic disks are installed at the factory to insulate the electric current in the light so that the cells do not experience any parasitic drain from the electronic switch as well as making it impossible for the light to turn on during shipment.

^  Simply pull out and discard these disks.  You will not need them again.

^  The X7 Marauder doesn't use a battery cartridge.  This saves a bit of space as well as making fewer contact and resistance points that could inhibit current flow.  The 18650 cells are arranged in a 2S2P formation.  The two small holes visible above are for the locating pins in the tail cap.

^  The contact PCB in the tail cap is attached to the tail cap by the center screw.  This allows the tail cap to spin freely while the guide pins in the PCB keep the anode and cathode contacts in proper orientation with the cells.  The positive contact plates above are the ones that I needed to clean in order to get Turbo S mode functioning.  The plastic burr visible in the picture was only there after opening the light for the first time.  It was not there while I was experiencing issues prior to wiping off the contacts.

^  These are the high drain 18650 cells that Olight includes with the bundle.  They are 3500mAh capacity and appear to be protected.  They are also not listed for sale separately on Olightworld.com as of the writing of this review.  While I highly recommend the X7 and getting it from SkyBen.Trade, I cannot recommend getting the version bundled with Olight's cells.  I've had issues with the light not staying in Turbo S mode for more than a split second before it drops down to High.  Every time is with the Olight HDR cells.  When I use my Samsung 25R cells the light works great.

^  A peek inside the battery tube to the contacts at the head of the light.  The recessed anode contacts mean that only button headed cells will work with the X7.  This is how it protects against reverse polarity should you put the cells in incorrectly.  Only high drain INR/IMR cells are recommended for use due to the high current draw the light places on it's cells.

^  Threading for the tail cap is very nice.  The threads have very little play between them and the O-ring seals tightly with the tail cap.  They also came prelubed from the factory.

^  Let's take a last look at the big LEDs before we open up the head and have a peek inside the light.

^  The emitters aren't perfectly centered but close.  One is just a bit off center (lower right in pic above).  It doesn't effect the beam at all.

^ The included holster is extremely nice and fits the X7 perfectly.  The quick detachable belt closure is very secure.

DECONSTRUCTION

^  Unthreading the blue anodized SS lens bezel exposes a very nice system for sealing the light tightly against water and dust intrusion.

^  There aren't a lot of threads on the bezel itself but they are fine and thread properly and easily on or off the head of the light.  The reflector cup is machined from a large piece of aluminum.

^  The AR coating on the lens is visible here.

^  The lens is encased on all three sides by a nice, thick C-ring (no, that that kind of "C" ring!) or U-ring.  It completely cushions the glass lens from impact on all edges and seals tightly between bezel and reflector.

^  A thick copper MCPCB holds the three Cree XHP70 emitters.  Each emitter is rotated different from the others.  This helps reduce the dark crosshair seen in some lights with the XHP LEDs.  All wiring comes up through the center.  Two thicker wires direct current to the LEDs and the two thin wires lead to the electronic switch.  A plastic insulator ring surrounds each emitter .  Two larger screws secure the plate to the emitter shelf below and the third, smaller screw is, I believe, to secure the thermal sensor that monitors heat from the hard driven LEDs.

^  At no point do I ever see the dreaded "cross hair" pattern caused by the thin gap between the 4 individual LEDs that make up each of the large XHP70 emitters.  In addition to each of the three LEDs being at slight different angles, I noticed that there is a ripple texture on the LED domes.  It looks almost like a Fresnel texture and I'm sure it is there to eliminate the dark cross hair pattern seen on the early XHP emitters.  I never noticed this pattern on any of my other XHP lights.  I've seen rough texture before but not this rippled texture.  I do like it a lot

 

^  The lens of the X7 is 60mm x 2mm and each reflector well is 29mm across.  They appear to be a little wider and slightly deeper than those on the Thrunite TN36.

COMPARISON 

I chose 3 other lights with which to compare the X7 Marauder.  All 3 are known as being some of the brightest flood flashlights on the market.

From left to right they are:

Thrunite TN36 (3*MK-R NW/4*18650)
Olight X7 Marauder (3*XHP70 CW/4*18650)
Noctigon Meteor M43 (4*3 XP-G2 S2 dedomed/4*18650)
Manker MK34 (3*4 XP-G3/3*18650)

 

 

 

^ The length and width of the two larger lights, the TN36 and X7, are nearly identical but the battery tube on the X7 is a bit thinner due to the lack of cell carrier which the TN36 uses.  It makes the X7 feel just a bit smaller and more compact than the TN36.  The squat, fat little M43 and tiny little MK34 make their crazy lumens by using 12 smaller LEDs.  Each of these four lights use what are essentially 12 XP-G sized LEDs.  Both the XHP and MK-R emitters are comprised of 4 smaller LED dies mounted onto a single substrate.  Obviously the two smaller lights have far less mass and will heat up much quicker than the two larger lights.

CONCLUSION

An interesting side note here, regarding one of the reasons I like dealing with Skyben.Trade on Amazon.  My sample light had an odd issue where when entering Turbo S mode the light would brighten for half a second them immediately dim back down to Turbo mode.  Frankly I was frustrated and ready to give up on the light but I contacted SkyBen to ask if they've ever seen this behavior before.  For all I knew I was doing something wrong but I didn't think so.  Long story longer, I spoke with Glennis at SkyBen and she instantly told me to wipe clean the positive contacts in the tail cap of the X7. 

What?  I looked at them and they were spotless, besides, how could that possibly resolve Turbo S mode not staying on?  Either it runs or it doesn't.  I fussed with the light some more with no results, even testing with different cells thinking the ones bundled with the light were not up to the task of Turbo S mode, then finally decided to try what Glennis suggested and clean the positive contacts in the tail cap.  I wiped them with my shirt and they looked exactly the same.  I screwed the tail cap back on the X7 then fired up Turbo S mode.  Holy crap!  It worked like a charm and has been performing flawlessly ever since (or so I thought).  I've never seen such a thing.  I contacted Glennis again and asked how in the world she knew this little trick and she informed me that my X7 is not the first one she's seen with this issue.  The moral of the story:  The folks at SkyBen seem to know their stuff and, if you get an X7 and the Turbo S mode stays on only briefly, wipe off the positive contacts on the tail cap to fix the issue.  Must be some type of oily coating on the contacts that limited current throughput enough to cause Turbo S to fail.

What was an interesting side note has become a full fledged issue and it's existence means that I cannot recommend the Olight X7 Marauder with the Olight HDR cells based on my sample which appear to be defective.  Last night I prepared to take my final batch of beam shots and in doing so the Turbo S mode was failing to work again.  I cleaned the tail contacts as before and it did not resolve the issue.  I decided to clean the contacts in the head of the light as well which did the trick and Turbo S worked for my beam shots.  This morning while going through the UI to finish up this review I found that after sitting overnight the Turbo S failed to work AGAIN!  I cleaned the tail cap contacts yet AGAIN but this time Turbo S is still not working.  Due to the problem of getting down to the contacts by the head to clean them (very difficult to do thanks to tight space) this has turned from what I originally considered a fluke nuisance to a full blown issue.  Since every review I've seen or read has not reported this issue I must assume that my either my light is defective or the cells are defective.  I've ensured the cells are fully charged but even at half charge the Turbo S works on other samples owned by other reviewers.  The first time this happened to me I hadn't tried it with other cells as I'm a stickler for testing with what is provided, but this time I swapped out the Olight branded cells for my 25R cells and low and behold it works just fine. Put the Olight cells back in and the light doesn't work in Turbo S mode again. Put back the Samsung cells and it's perfect.   Looks like the Olight cells are pretty much crap in my opinion.  I believe there is a protection circuit in them that is causing the issue.  This is pretty much why I always prefer to provide my own cells and never use protected cells in any of my lights.

Here is a demonstration of what is happening with the Olight cells:

So what is my final opinion on the Olight X7 Marauder?  It kicks some serious floody @ss.  Build quality is fantastic.  Fit and finish are perfect.  OTF performance is pretty close to what is claimed and it's Throw distance is even better than claimed.  Just don't get it with the Olight cells.  They don't work well with the light.  Stick with proven cells like the Samsung 25R/30Q, some of the new LG cells that are high draw, or any good IMR cells.  Just remember to get button topped cells as the reverse protection is mechanical and flat topped cells won't reach the contacts.  I love the light but hate the frustration caused by the questionable cells that came with it.  Fortunately the version without the cells is more affordable.  Win win!

Update 20161107: Olight sent me a set of replacement cells for the X7 and with them the light functions perfectly. Tested it with my new 30Q and it worked great. Popped in the new cells from Olight and it worked great. Popped in the original cells that came with it and it won't stay in Turbo S. Definitely an issue with the cells and not the light itself. Per Olight's request I am shipping the old cells back to Olight for testing.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2016, 03:16:30 AM by JohnnyMac »

Offline robo819

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Re: Olight X7 Marauder
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2016, 08:18:36 PM »
Thanks for the (again very detailed) review JM.
Looks like a really nice light although you had the trouble with the Turbo S mode on your sample.

It does seems you have been getting the "lemons" out of the Rose garden lately though with some of your review samples. I hope that all changes for the better for you soon.

Offline JohnnyMac

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Re: Olight X7 Marauder
« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2016, 08:24:51 PM »
Thanks, Dave.  I feel the same way  :P  SkyBen told me that another review sample they sent out had the same issue and wiping the contacts resolved it for them.  As a review on BLF that was posted yesterday or the day before had also been provided by SkyBen.Trade, I think it's reasonable to assume that that is the person who also had the issue.  I'm going to contact him and see if the issue has happened again for him

Offline robo819

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Re: Olight X7 Marauder
« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2016, 09:08:22 PM »
Well hopefully it wont be a widespread issue on the driver. Hate to see any of the companies have a big fail in something as important as the driver of a light. Maybe it is just a few isolated lights though.

Offline JohnnyMac

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Re: Olight X7 Marauder
« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2016, 01:53:28 AM »
I've determined that the issue was with the Olight cells the entire time.  I've revised the review accordingly.  THanks!

Offline robo819

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Re: Olight X7 Marauder
« Reply #5 on: October 31, 2016, 07:37:21 PM »
I've determined that the issue was with the Olight cells the entire time.  I've revised the review accordingly.  THanks!

Wow good to know that it wasn't the light, but at the same time Olight might wanna get a fix on the cells used with the light.

Offline JohnnyMac

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Re: Olight X7 Marauder
« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2016, 03:04:55 AM »
Indeed!  I used my older 25R cells and it worked longer but still had issues. I added buttons to my new 30Q cells and it ran on turbo S for 5 minutes before stepping down. It was HOT!

Offline JohnnyMac

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Re: Olight X7 Marauder
« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2016, 03:16:51 AM »
Update 20161107: Olight sent me a set of replacement cells for the X7 and with them the light functions perfectly. Tested it with my new 30Q and it worked great. Popped in the new cells from Olight and it worked great. Popped in the original cells that came with it and it won't stay in Turbo S. Definitely an issue with the cells and not the light itself.   Per Olight's request I am shipping the old cells back to Olight for testing.

Offline robo819

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Re: Olight X7 Marauder
« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2016, 02:41:05 PM »
Well that is good to know. The bad cells are going to happen time to time no matter who they come from though , I have had a couple in the past from reputable vendors and quality name brand cells that were DOA.