Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Review 80M Waterproof Underwater 1800 LM CREE XM-L T6 LED Diving Flashlight Torch

Purchased one of these off ebay...

Put a bolt snap on it and went diving... took it to 24m (75ft)., 8 degrees C ( 46 F)..

Results, well it worked during the dive no problems... nice tight beam and about 20-30% brighter that my old UK Light Canon 10W HID. Going by previous lights it looks like ~900 lumens?

However, after the first dive, it had drops of water in the lense... groan...

Stripped it down, left it to dry, greased up the lense O-ring ( which was bone dry) and went back.. this time no problems... 24m depth again. 

One bonus of the strip down is that i've lost the SOS mode. The pill needs to be rotated to match the magnets in the outside ring...I switched the mode selector ring to ON and then rotated the pill till the light came on, then closed it up..

Here are some pictures...

Some closeups of the o-ring sitting on a "ledge".

The lense sits on the o-ring.

I'm sort of happy with it, I'll go through all the O-rings and grease up, making sure all the pieces are tight. Also make sure all the o-ring surfaces and threads are free from loose metal/dirt etc...

Some more pictures...

Some further observations...

The multimode isn't as bad a I first thought.... you don't have to cycle through all the modes every time you switch it on and off.. For instance, if you have it on Full power and just want to turn it off and on again and retain the full power mode, just wait 5 seconds before turning it back on again. If you do it more quickly, it will change mode and go down to the next lower power setting. 

I measured the current on full power, it takes 2.2A with a fresh battery. So at 4.2V its 9.24 Watts.

I had a look at the control board PCB with a view to remove the modes but I didn't understand it enough to come up with a solution. It has one main controller chip ( 8 pin ) in the centre and 2 hall effect sensors on the perimeter of the PCB. It also has space/PCB tracks for 2 more, these are not populated.

So, 4 sensors, each one has a track going into the controller, with +Vcc and GND, leaves two for outputs..

None of the chips had identification numbers on.

There is another 4 pin power device but without taking the PCB out of the base I can't see it or probe it...  

I suppose I could remove the controller chip and put in an ATTiny chip of my own but as i'm going diving next week I want it to be in one piece.

A bit more..

Take care to hold the body of the torch and not the head when you take off the end cap changing batteries OR changing mode/On/Off underwater, the bezel/body connection are too easily loosened and you could create a leak.


After 14 dives ranging from 41m to 17m in 8 degrees water, I managed to unscrew the bezels by accident and both flooded. Again, dry out and tighten and back to normal. A suggested solution to this was to use a thread lock type product, so i've ordered some Loctite 243 and will see how that goes..

Another Update..

Applied the thread lock ( Loctite 243) to the bezel threads on the head, like so... Tightened the head up. Dived again and didn't flood but only 9m depth dive.... I'll update some more when I get more depth.

Unscrewing it after the dive was not an issue, maybe put a little more on that the small blob in the photo. < Yep works..>...

£3.50 from Amazon.

Update : Bought a third one for the video light project, noticed a slightly different label on the side and it didn't come with the inner plastic battery adapter, otherwise it looks exactly the same. Need to verify its ok with another dive.

Another Update:

Dived to 4m so suspect its ok. I've not got a deeper dive for a month so will feedback then. Tried to disassemble it and noticed: 

The plastic insert/battery adapter was not there, a 16850 battery will still work it just flops about a bit when your tightening up the end, still makes a connection. I had some plastic tubing which I cut down to the same length ( 8cm length, Outside diameter 23mm) as one of the others and it was fine.

The reflector doesn't want to come out nor the LED pcb either. A gently push didn't dislodge it, so might swap the heads around with my older ones to make another video head or give it a whack with a hammer..!
Otherwise this third one, looks ok...

Beam shot :

More shots of the body, the end cap does fit on the head unit... Not sure its water tight but does make a solid seal... Plenty of beam shots on my Vimeo channel...https://vimeo.com/user19212157

Simple goodman handle for the light, found some webbing from an old dive bag, tie wrapped it on. I clip the bolt snap onto my computer bungee to keep it straight. Usually do this once i'm in the water.


I have three of these now, 2 have glass lenses and 1 has an acrylic lense. None have flooded since I put the loctite thread lock.

1 glass lense one has done 30 dives to a max of 42m ( 137ft).
Another glass one has done 12 dives to a max of 30m ( 98ft)
The acrylic lense version has done 10 dives to 30m.

Run time on an Xtar 2800ma 18650 battery is around 55 mins continuous , which is two dives for me ( its not on all the time).

Two have been converted to Video lights are per my blog.

The only nasty bit is the rotating control ring, this can either go stiff OR very loose... Still works but the spring and steel ball don't like salt water. See other post on my blog for the control ring issues..

The loctite thread lock will need to be applied again soon as I can feel the bezel coming loose again on one of them.

I've not changed the original o-rings. They look awful but so far they have held out, just greased them up.

Another Update:

Someone noticed there was a current drain when in the off position, I checked it with a multimeter and sure enough, looks like around 50mA. I'd not noticed battery going dead when I left them in but I tend to charge them before every dive trip.

I mentioned in another post that the control ring is completely free now i.e. no notch. This mean it slips around quite a bit. The solution is to place a tight bicycle inner tube around it seems to work ok.

Beam shots in the pool:


  1. Thanks for review, it was excellent and very informative.
    thank you :)

  2. Do you think that this one could be as great as yours? http://www.ebay.it/itm/150m-Dive-6800Lm-4x-CREE-XM-L2-LED-Diving-Light-Flashlight-Torch-Lamp-w-Battery-/321405944125?pt=UK_SportsLeisure_Camping_LightsLanternsTorches&var&hash=item4ad549813d&_uhb=1

  3. Hi Luca, I don't know, difficult to tell.. I doubt you will get 6800lm out of it as everyone seems to exaggerate the output, probably more like 3500-4000lm... the other thing I've just found with my triple XML torch is the runtime is low... say 30mins so you need a fresh set of batteries for every dive.Try it and let us know...John

  4. Great review. The light beam is really visible underwater. Flashlights from Cree really are reliable.

  5. OK currently using this one as a backup light, done about 50-60 dives and its fine... the ring is loose but with a bit of inner tube round, its stay on or off as selected.. deepest its been is 42m. I'm now taking the triple XML light with me as well, just because it gives out a lot my light.Batteries, I use the Xtar 2800s and they are fresh for each days diving.

  6. Hi!
    Thanks for the reviews, you have a nice blog, I like it!

    I just wanted to share with you, I have a very similar light, bought on Aliexpress.
    But mine has the reflector and the pill separated, otherwise everything else is the same.

    I was getting 1,5A tailcap current and decided to mod it.

    If you wand some more power, the mod is really easy to do:
    You should buy:
    49E hall effect
    Nanjg 105c - I put 10X AMC7135
    ATtiny programmer (that I think that you already have)
    and a 20mm adapter

    I needed that for 1-mode only, but you can do as much modes as you want.

    Just flash the Attiny with that firmware:

    connect the hall effects pin 1 to +. pin 2 to -. pin 3 to STAR4.
    Align the hall effect the same way it is on original driver.
    Install it with the 20mm adapter.

    AND have fun, you have a brand new driver ;-)

    Let me know if you have some more questions.

    and BTW, do you have experience in exchanging generic MCU on a driver to ATtiny?

  7. HI Yan,
    good idea..thanks for letting us know that... not seen that board (Nanjg 105c)... what current draw are you getting on the endcap? Wonder what the runtime would be at higher mA ? Ideally for my dive lights it needs to be 75mins approx for two dives... as a minimum...

  8. Quick update, just had one fail on me, won't turn off! Magnet is still functioning but maybe the electronics, hall effect switch is not working or there is a short.. anyway, can't use it ;(. It was being used on video rig.. other 2 are fine.

  9. Has anyone tried the cree umbilical torches?

  10. Like this one?


  11. Hello! I absolutely loved this review, and especially the tear-down. I bought three of these torches now and I'm in the process of adapting them for fluo diving. I've never tried fluo diving before but I find it very attractive and I love the DIY potential. I already managed to mount a compatible blue led on one, but I couldn't remove the LED assembly from the head, which made the soldering a bit difficult (had to solder with the iron inside the parabolic head). I wonder what you exactly unscrew to disassemble that? Or is mine a different model that is maybe a single piece? If you find the project interesting, we could get in touch and exchange some ideas on tinkering with torches.

    Take care and happy diving,


  12. Thanks for your post! That is a very nice review. Where to buy the best quality LED flashlights? Naybe you can go to the gearvita.com, it offers a wide range of consumer electronics. Here you can also find many electronic gadgets at reasonable prices.