MOD Help - I want to learn!

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rpscuba
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MOD Help - I want to learn!

Greetings everyone, first post here on BLF - thanks for letting me join.

I was wondering if the community would be willing to help a noob learn to mod my own LED flashlights? I have been a LED flashlight collector for many years.

I don't have an amazing collection by any means, but I find myself shopping very often and buying a little too often (so says the family). I really want to start modding/upgrading and make something amazing that can't be readily purchased. I like small and bright - something that people can't believe is putting out as much light as it is.

I am hoping that some of you here can provide me with details on how to mod. I will need to be treated and spoken to like I'm in kindergarten since all of the terminology and parts used are still foraging to me. The more details the better - hardware - shopping sites - software and the like. I have a light that is broken and may be a good one to start with (images below). Or, perhaps you will recommend that I start by buying the necessary parts and pieces online and build one from scratch? Either way I'm good. Just let me know your thoughts.

A little info on me in case it helps: I like DIY and I like gadgets. I build and fly RC Helicopters, Drones and cars/trucks. I build/repair/maintain computers as a hobby (my family and close friends think its my full time job though). I am a HAM radio operator. I like tinkering and doing projects with Raspberry Pi, Arduino and other electronics.

Thanks in advance for anyone willing to help me here. Just remember to talk slow and understand at the moment I'm clueless about these things.

 

 https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0Z6MOBsUpaHODg3U2tVV201QkYzZVRsV1ktVXBZeWFZUUhF/view?usp=sharing

 

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0Z6MOBsUpaHckZMUU0zbkJHOGNjYllIQXkzR2o1Q2JocTdZ/view?usp=sharing 

 

light1

Edited by: rpscuba on 07/16/2017 - 19:43
NeutralFan
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Welcome to BLF rpscuba! Exactly what do you want to do to what? There are so many ways to modify flashlights, but it depends on what your goal is. What’s wrong with the flashlight in your pictures?

I’d rather use my flashlight around the house than turn on the lights.

rpscuba
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Thanks NeutralFan. I guess one of my goals is to make something very very bright, thats not to big (small-ish).

The light in the photograph comes on and then, after a short period begins to dim and flicker… then goes out completely.

rpscuba
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And I think it would be fun to mod just about any light, from tiny pocket lights to larger spot lights. Maybe there is something that I can do to get my feet wet, something a little more on the simple side? Buy some lesser light on Amazon or elsewhere and order components necessary to upgrade it to something more?

I just want to learn and I have no idea where or how to start.

Thanks again!

The Miller
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Welcome to BLF!
There is a long topic called “what you mod today” where you can find a lot of inspiration.
It seems you already know how to solder and measure.
So if you measure the size of the driver and star a led is mounted on you know what parts are compatible.
Generally speaking a light with one cell is for 3V emitters.
A nice mod is changing a led with cool white to neatral or warmer tint
You are using li ion cells?

everydaysurvivalgear
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Hey mate welcome!

Any thing you need to know feel free to ask me.

What ever is wrong with your light now sounds like a connection issues? Is the tail cap fully tightened? Any dirt on the threads?

Depending on your objective you can mod the light you have now or buy a new light and start from scratch?

I am getting into ham radio i usually cruse the CB radio network but ham is more professional. Do you have any Chinese radios?

feralcomprehension
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One easy and fun way to learn is to build up a new light from off the shelf parts.  If you look at the Convoy M1 host description on the Mountain Electronics website everything you'll need is pretty clearly spelled out.  Try it- it's really satisfying to take a pile of parts and turn it into a fully functional and truly useful custom light.

vwpieces
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Welcome to BLF.
Here are the pics of the OP light
Ultrafire WF-1200L

Also found this pic online of the light kinda apart. I will say because of that spring on the back, its design may not be something to mod as a higher power 5 emitter build. It will be lacking in heat sinking ability.

rpscuba
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everydaysurvivalgear wrote:
Hey mate welcome!

Any thing you need to know feel free to ask me.

What ever is wrong with your light now sounds like a connection issues? Is the tail cap fully tightened? Any dirt on the threads?

Depending on your objective you can mod the light you have now or buy a new light and start from scratch?

I am getting into ham radio i usually cruse the CB radio network but ham is more professional. Do you have any Chinese radios?

Thank you for the reply!

I do have some Chinese, yes. I have a Wouxun dual band handheld. It was a nice radio while it worked – it went deaf though. I also have a Connect Systems CS750 (DMR), a Tytera MD-380 (also DMR) and a BK Radio KNG2-P400 (P25). If you have any DMR repeaters in your area the Connect Systems and the Tytera are decent radios that I personally enjoy using. I will prob never buy another Wouxun unless they come out with a new model that proves to be better than what they are making today. I have friends who have Baofeng and they seem to be well worth what they sell for, but are generally considered as “throw away” units. I also have an icom IC-7000 for my base HF rig. Looking to upgrade it soon to one of a couple software definded radios (SDR).

In reference to flashlights, I really think I want to buy something and mod it to start. And thanks for the tips on my broken light. I will take it down and see if I can see any issues. If not maybe I will ask for input on how to rebuild it bigger and better.

Thanks again for taking the time to respond.

rpscuba
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The Miller wrote:
Welcome to BLF! There is a long topic called “what you mod today” where you can find a lot of inspiration. It seems you already know how to solder and measure. So if you measure the size of the driver and star a led is mounted on you know what parts are compatible. Generally speaking a light with one cell is for 3V emitters. A nice mod is changing a led with cool white to neatral or warmer tint You are using li ion cells?

Thank you for the topic information. I will go look at it for sure.

rpscuba
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feralcomprehension wrote:

One easy and fun way to learn is to build up a new light from off the shelf parts.  If you look at the Convoy M1 host description on the Mountain Electronics website everything you’ll need is pretty clearly spelled out.  Try it- it’s really satisfying to take a pile of parts and turn it into a fully functional and truly useful custom light.

I’m shopping Mountain Eletronics sight right now. Looks like a good place to start. Perhaps I will put some stuff in my cart and then share it here for review and comment.

Thanks for sharing.

rpscuba
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In fact, does anyone have the parts list of one or two of their favorite builds? Perhaps that would be a great way for me learn…

Let me know what you ordered/used on one of your favorite builds if you dont mind.

rpscuba
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(3) Nichia NVSW319AT D440 5000K 70+ CRI LEDs on 20mm 3XP Copper Noctigon + Pre-Bridged (3) Nichia NVSW319AT D440 5000K 70+ CRI LEDs on 20mm 3XP Copper Noctigon + Pre-Bridged
Availability: 18 3XP-319AT-D440-JP

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Availability: 8 CONVYM1-HOST

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L4M4
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rpscuba
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L4M4 wrote:
http://www.kaidomain.com/p/S023026.Triple-Cree-XP-G2-S2-LED-1A-Cool-Whit... https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Convoy-S2-gray-flashlight-host-include-1...? http://www.gearbest.com/batteries/pp_232874.html http://www.gearbest.com/chargers/pp_424662.html if you lack a good charger

Thanks for the links. I may just order a few of each and build them. What driver do you recommend?

I just got a Nitecore D4 to replace an aging charger ive used for years.

Thanks again!

L4M4
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rpscuba
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Got it, thanks!

Jerommel
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Are you sure you want a FET DD driver?
Hmmm… maybe you do for that 5 emitter light, because that could handle a LOT of power before it costs a lot of efficiency or LED death, that is, when you have the thermal path from Led board to flashlight body sorted out.

DD (direct drive) has no CC (constant current) regulation so there’s no current limiting done.
It would be better to have current limiting on each mode (no PWM)
Neven (member led4power) has a nice FET CC driver.
You could use the 12 Amperes version, which can be limited to 7 Amperes with a couple of clicks.
And then you can optimize the electrical path without risking LED death.
It comes with an NTC (super tiny SMD NTCs, a bit of a challenge maybe…) for thermal regulation (reducing the current when it gets hot).

DD may give you the highest output ‘the easy way’ perhaps, but only when the battery is fully charged.
Anyway, i’m not a fan of the DD concept. Smile

Looking for:

5” parabolic reflector (for recoil light)

rpscuba
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Jerommel wrote:
Are you sure you want a FET DD driver?
Hmmm… maybe you do for that 5 emitter light, because that could handle a LOT of power before it costs a lot of efficiency or LED death, that is, when you have the thermal path from Led board to flashlight body sorted out.

DD (direct drive) has no CC (constant current) regulation so there’s no current limiting done.
It would be better to have current limiting on each mode (no PWM)
Neven (member led4power) has a nice FET CC driver.
You could use the 12 Amperes version, which can be limited to 7 Amperes with a couple of clicks.
And then you can optimize the electrical path without risking LED death.
It comes with an NTC (super tiny SMD NTCs, a bit of a challenge maybe…) for thermal regulation (reducing the current when it gets hot).

DD may give you the highest output ‘the easy way’ perhaps, but only when the battery is fully charged.
Anyway, i’m not a fan of the DD concept. Smile

I will reach out and see about ordering one. Thanks!

L4M4
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Jerommel wrote:
It would be better to have current limiting on each mode

“Better” in which way?
A Direct-Driver gives you the most “wow”-Factor and you also have some modes on the driver, so you mustn’t use the full power.
Also the tiny light will get hot after a few seconds Wink

rpscuba
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So I see that I need a little education on drivers. What are the different ones, I see “direct driver” and “constant current” are a couple of options… Any rules of thumb on chosing them?

Also, any pros/cons with led’s in series or parallel?

Thanks again.

MRsDNF
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rpscuba wrote:
So I see that I need a little education on drivers. What are the different ones, I see “direct driver” and “constant current” are a couple of options… Any rules of thumb on chosing them?

Also, any pros/cons with led’s in series or parallel?

Thanks again.


This may explain a little. Direct drive (DD) means that the driver will give the led everything the battery has to offer without being regulated.

http://budgetlightforum.com/node/33820

My current and or voltage measurements are only relevent to anything that I measure.

Budget light hobby proudly sponsored by my Mastercard and unknowingly paid for by a hard working wife. 

djozz said "it came with chinese lettering that is chinese to me".

old4570 said "I'm not an expert , so don't suffer from any such technical restrictions".

Old-Lumens. Highly admired and cherished member of Budget Light Forum. 11.5.2011 - 20.12.16. RIP.

 

rpscuba
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MRsDNF wrote:
rpscuba wrote:
So I see that I need a little education on drivers. What are the different ones, I see “direct driver” and “constant current” are a couple of options… Any rules of thumb on chosing them?

Also, any pros/cons with led’s in series or parallel?

Thanks again.


This may explain a little. Direct drive (DD) means that the driver will give the led everything the battery has to offer without being regulated.

http://budgetlightforum.com/node/33820

Very nice, thanks for the link – reading it now.

rpscuba
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What are some of the better CC drivers that are commercially aviable? I want to order all of the components in the next day or so… looking forward to building my first light.

Thanks

ImA4Wheelr
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2S cells with 5P or 5S emitters?   DD doesn't seem a solution unless 5P and he goes 1S cells.