Small Sun ZY-T08 (2012-11-28)

Small Sun ZY-T08

*The light in this review was kindly provided courtesy of Deal Extreme

Short & Quick:

J-Mac Approved!  This light is a diamond in the rough, especially for the price.  Read on to find out why.

Specs from Deal Extreme’s page:

Brand                               Small Sun
Model                              
ZY-T08
Quantity                          
1
Color                                
Black
Material                           
Aluminum alloy
Emitter Brand                 
CREE
Number of Emitters        
1
Color BIN                        
White
Emitter Type                   
XM-L
Emitter BIN                     
T6
Voltage Input
                   3.7~7.4 V
Battery Configuration     
2 x 18650 (not included)
Circuitry                           
1800mA
Brightness                         
635 lm
Runtime                            
1~2 hour
Number of Modes            
5
Mode Arrangement         
Hi > Mid > Low > Fast strobe > SOS
Mode Memory                 
No
Switch Type                     
Reverse clicky
Switch Location               
Tailcap
Lens                                  
Glass
Reflector                          
Aluminum Smooth
Strap Included                  
Yes
Clip Included                    
No
Packing List                     
1 x Flashlight 1 x Strap

My Additional/Corrected Specs

Battery Configuration:       1 x 18650 or 2 x 18650 Li-Ion in parallel
OTF Lumens – High:           648
OTF Lumens – Medium:     317.5
OTF Lumens – Low:           151.8
Throw/Lux @ 1m:              42,800
Emitter MCPCB:                25mm
Driver Diameter:                30mm (29.77mm)
Pill Top Diameter:              30mm
Base Diameter:            33.96mm
Outer Height:              32.09mm
Inside Diameter:          27.88mm
Inside Depth:                24.55
Reflector material:             
Plastic
Reflector (width*depth):   57.73mm x 38.92mm
Lens (diam*thickness):      57.51mm x 3.01mm
Head Diameter:                  62.57mm
Body Diameter:                  42.06mm
Overall Length:                 174.34mm
Price:                                   $29.30 USD
Product Page:                     DX.com

PROS

  • Extremely great throw especially with only 648 lumens.
  • Great reflector design.
  • Thick lens.
  • Good machining on head.
  • Square, anodized threads on body/head joint.
  • Clean threading on bezel and pill.
  • Lots of threads on pill for decent heat conduction to head.
  • Solid base for emitter MCPCB.
  • Excellent finning for maximum thermal transfer to air.
  • Able to run on one cell in a pinch.
  • Very even spill in the beam with few faint thin rings.
  • All openings sealed well with properlyu fitting o-rings and gaskets.
  • No threads for the screws were stripped.
  • Nice switch feel and thick, supple switch cap.
  • Body arrived in great shape and with even anodizing.
  • Tail stands very well.
  • Lanyard holes should accomodate paracord.
  • Came with decent lanyard and split ring.
  • Price!

CONS

  • Lots of machining marks on flat surfaces of the battery tube and tail cap under certain light.
  • While the plastic reflector is a con to some, it’s performance says otherwise.
  • Some battery rattle.
  • Button top cells recommended.  My Panasonic unprotected flat tops work but others may not.
  • Threads were not lubricated but that’s easily resolved.

PICTURES

As usual, pictures say more than words can.  They don’t lie and they are unbiased.  I’ll provide a little commentary as we go through them.

The light arrived having been drop shipped by one of DX’s suppliers.  Looking up the tracking number on the label shows that it only took 10 days to arrive.  It shipped out on the 16th and arrived on the 26th.  Nothing special with packaging.  Just a padded manilla envelope barely large enough to hold the box inside.

 

Inside the envelope was the usual white box and inside of that was a bubble bag containing the torch and lanyard.

 

Here is the torch and lanyard.  No spare o-rings.  Fortunately all were in place and intact and no spares were needed.  With only one o-ring in it’s design it probably wouldn’t have been needed.  The lanyard is not bad.  It’s good to see better lanyards being included with the more recent torch offerings.

 

The well designed reflector surrounding the perfectly centered emitter.

 

The emitter is centered with a nylon centering bushing.

 

The machining on the head is actually very nice.  No machining marks, clean finning, great threads, and nice anodizing.

 

Plenty of fins mean lots of surface area to help wick away the heat produced by the XM-L emitter.

 

Another shot at the fins surrounding the pill.  Deep fins and plenty of space for air to flow through them.

 

Once we hit the body/battery tube things change in the quality of the machining.  It’s almost as if the head and body were machined by two different suppliers.  They well may have been.  It’s not that the body is bad, it isn’t, it’s just cosmetic flaws in the flat areas due to tooling marks as you will see in the next few pics.

 

Laser etching is bold and clean.  You can see the machining marks easily in this pic.  FOrtunately they are only visible under close scrutiny and propper lighting but they are still there.

 

Machining on the curved area of the body are nice.  Here you can see the grip ridges along the curved sides on the body.

 

On either side of the body at the rear are the lanyard attachment points.  While they do stick out a fair bit, they are sturdy and should accomodate thicker split rings and paracord lanyards.

 

Another look at the machining and tooling marks.  The tail base is stainless steel.

 

The driver PCB is 30mm across and is press fit.  My example was extremely tight and had to be pried out with a pic.  From what I hear, recent examples from other dealers have poorly fitting drivers and the assemblers actually used pieces of paper as wedges to shim out the dirver for a snug fit.  My example from DX needed no such shims and had to be firmly pressed back into the pill after being pried out with a pick.  More on the pill in a bit.

 

For now, lets take a quick look at what is in the head.

 

Clean anodized threads for the lightly crenelated aluminum bezel.  Clean, nearly square threads for the pill at the base of the head.  The lens and lens gasket (not an o-ring) fit snugly in the hit with zero rattle.

 

Huge but very lightweight pill.  Lots of threads for lots of surface contact with the head to help wick away the heat produced by the emitter.  Emitter mounting area is solid and there is thermal grease between it and the MCPCB.

 

Lots of clean threads on the pill.  The pill is 32mm tall…it’s huge.  The wide rim at the base sits against a matching recessed area in the base of the head.

 

The inside of the pill is cavernous and can accomodate just about any driver you should want to use should the need arise to replace the stock driver.  It’s 24.5mm deep and 27.88mm across.  You could always use it to smuggle arms or even mexicans across the border. Tongue

 

A close look at the driver components.  There is PWM but it’s some of the fastest I’ve seen in a budget light.  Much better than most budget offerings.

 

The lens is 3mm thick.  The silicone gasket fits snugly around the lens sealing it on both the outer edge and against the flat where it mates against the reflector.  Water tight, snug and rattle free.

 

The reflector is plastic, not aluminum as advertised, but is well chromed, smooth and blemish free.

 

Moving down to the base of the head we can see the clean, nearly square threads that the body screws onto.  The o-ring here is the only o-ring on the light and is the proper diameter and thickness to provide a decent seal against casual water intrusion.

 

Super clean threads on the body match those on the head where they join together.

 

My unprotected Panasonics with flat anodes actually work but not all flat-headed cells will.  Button top cells are recommended.

 

Laser etching inside the battery cutouts shows the proper way to insert the cells.

 

Gold-plated spring in the base provide contact for negative current.  All 65-70mm long cells should fit just fine.

 

A look at the stainless steel base for the switch components.  You can see all the machining marks.  Purely cosmetic but it would be nice if the tooling marks were not there.  The switch feel is very nice – light yet firm.  The switch boot is thick but supple.  It feels very durable.  4 allen head screws hold the tail piece securely to the body.

 

With the 4 screws removed you can see there is a soft rubber gasket between the tail cap and the body.  This should provide plenty of water resistance and a small bit of shock protection if the light is dropped on it’s tail.  The switch cap is held tightly by a thick, threaded ring.

 

Tail section completely broken down.

 

Here is the switch inside the rear of the body. The mounting board is held with two screws.

 

Here is the switch PCB removed from the body.

 

And a look at the battery side.  All of it is easily accessed for repairs or upgrades.

 

This is the tail of the body showing all of the mating surfaces for the switch plate and tail piece.  All surfaces here are cleanly machined and perfectly smooth.  Thank goodness.  Also, none of the screw holes were stripped and all the screws fit perfectly into their assigned holes.

 

It tailstands perfectly, BTW.

 

A final look at the whole light wiht the lanyard attached.

 

CONCLUSION

Parts of the light excel while other areas leave me wanting.  Fortunately the parts that leave me wanting are only cosmetic.  For performance everything hits all the sweet spots and works just like you want in a light.  For the price, the performance, and for overall build quality I have to give this light a strong recommendation.

I’d been delaying purchasing one of these lights after hearing about issues with the examples received by members from other suppliers.  When DX offered to send me one for review I jumped at the chance and with all honesty I can say that I would buy another one to replace this one if this was ever lost or destroyed.  Until others get problematic examples from DX, and hopefully they won’t, I have to thank them for sending this light for review and encourage anyone who hasn’t purchased this light yet or was worried about quality issues to buy it from DX.  It’s a few dollars more at this time than it can be had from other dealers but the build quality and performance of my example is outstanding and worth the extra coin.

As always, your comments are encouraged and welcome.

Johnny

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