X8 flashlights are powerful LED flashlights that are very suitable for the use as condensors in 35mm projectors.
When refering to X8 lights, I’m talking about original “UltraFire X8” and “Trustfire X8” lights, which are not exactly the same, but equivalent in quality and most relevant properties.
X8 lights feature Cree XM-L or XM-L2 LEDs, which is basically the most powerful 10W rated light sources available today. At full power they output around 1000 Lumen, which is as much as a 65W incandescent bulb, significantly more than other high power LEDs will deliver.
So far, this is the most ideal single LED flashlight for gBeam projectors.
The 40mm high quality parabolic reflector covers the image area of a 35mm slides very well, though image brightness is not as uniform as with conventional projectors and the corners are significantly darkened. Both effects can be alleviated by employing a fresnel (condensor) lens and/or moving the light further away from the slide, however at the cost of reduced overall brightness.
X8 lights are usually powered by two 18650 Li-ion batteries (in series), providing a runtime of well over 1 hour with 2000mAh batteries. Operation with a single battery is possible too.
Thermal / Cooling
X8 flashlights feature a copper driver/emitter pill, screwed into the solid aluminium reflector (~70g), which is in turn screwed into the solid aluminium flashlight shell.
Overall, cooling is adequate, permitting extensive use without overheating the flashlight or melting plastic parts attached to it. Cooling can be further improved by applying thermal grease.
Where to buy
For convenience, you can buy X8 lights in my shop, bundled with quality batteries and chargers.
You can also always find X8 lights on Alibaba or Ebay. Delivery time from China is usually around 3 weeks, so it may be worthwile to look for a domestic vendor. With all those offers, the bundled batteries and chargers are usually crap, and often outright dangerous (unprotected batteries, unregulated chargers).
Be aware of fake UltraFires
Many vendors sell fake “UltraFire X8” lights that look the same from the outside (at least on the pictures on the vendors website), but are completely different on the inside. Most knock-offs have cheap deep-drawn reflectors, resulting in quick overheating (reducing run- and lifetime) and significantly worse light output.
Even if you’re lucky and get a good quality knock-off, it will probably not mechanically compatible with gBeam adapters for the original UltraFire lights.