Make a BLF Q8 mule?

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whatisthisidonteven
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Make a BLF Q8 mule?

Hi there everyone!
I’m a bit new to flashlights, so please forgive me if I’m in the wrong forum section or if my search was inadequate to find where this info was already posted.

I’ve had a BLF Q8 for about a year now and I love it. There’s only one thing I would change; I would remove the hotspot and make the beam completely uniform. I added some diffuser tape, which helps a bit but the hotspot is still there.

I learned about this term “mule” recently. Is it possible to take the reflector out of my Q8 to make it a mule with a uniform beam? Are there disadvantages to doing this? Heat, beam, intensity, lifespan, anything?

I wasn’t able to find any photos of people disassembling Q8s that far either. Is the reflector removable? Do I take off the bezel, then the lens, and just pop it off, all from the front?

And last, is there a different reason the beam has a hotspot? Would a different lens (optics?) do the trick? Is it just the leds themselves that are the problem? Again, I’m still learning a lot about this stuff.

Thanks in advance!

Edited by: whatisthisidonteven on 09/14/2020 - 18:33
Tom E
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Lot depends. For a mule, you want the LED's closer to the glass, so best thing would be to make, or have made a custom plate to raise the base for mounting the LED's up closer. Yes - reflector is removable but you'd lose a lot of output with them so recessed down without the custom plate. Then you'd also need a way of securing the glass lens without a reflector. All depends how clean or rough edged you want it.

To remove the reflector, unscrew the SS bezel, remove the glass. From underneath, remove screws securing the driver, remove the driver - this gives you access to the screw that holds down the reflector...

whatisthisidonteven
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Awesome, thanks Tom! I would not have known to take out the driver underneath to get to the screws on the reflector. I’ll have to spend some time thinking about what I can fashion to raise the base that the LEDs are on

Tom E
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Yea, that's common with SRK style lights - 1 maybe 2 screws from the underside to hold it down. Works well to tighten it up against the MCPCB.

goshdogit
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Welcome to BLF!

Can I ask what type of diffusion material you’ve tried?

As Tom mentioned, converting a reflector-based flashlight into a mule usually involves moving the LEDs closer to the front of the light using a ‘spacer.’ These are traditionally made of aluminum or copper to move heat from the LEDs to the body of the flashlight, since the LED circuit boards will no longer be in direct contact with the aluminum ‘shelf.’

Some folks offer custom spacers made to fit a few common flashlights to convert from a reflector to a TIR optic, such as the Convoy S2 series. A spacer for the Q8 would likely need to be custom-made. Do you have any machinist friends? Big Smile

Have you considered a light that uses TIR optics? The Emisar D4V2 and D18 use optics available in various beam types between throwy and floody. The floody optics will still not be as floody as a mule’s ‘wall of light’ beam.

Im curious, what other lights are in your collection?

pennzy
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Ask Boaz for advice about his different DC Fix films. That would be easier.
http://budgetlightforum.com/node/42208

whatisthisidonteven
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Thanks for your help everyone!

I put one layer of d-c-fix on the lens. I think I got it from Phaserburn through the link that no longer works on this thread.
https://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/showthread.php?334755-Self-Adhesive...
Sadly, it doesn’t say on the tape exactly what type of d-c-fix it is

This advice is exactly why I came to you folks! So the heat becomes an issue if you move the base forward and lose contact with the heat-dissipating metal that’s already in place. I do have access to a few metalworking tools such as a plasma cutter, but somehow I doubt we’d be able to cut anything precise enough to make sufficient contact for this. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I have no idea even where to begin asking about custom machined spacer plates, and I suspect they might be somewhat pricey?

To be honest I thought TIR optics were a fancier version of diffuser tape until I read more about it just now, haha. That’s really cool! Do people make TIR optics for the Q8? Or do you mean that you can repurpose an optic meant for another light? To whom would I go for that?

I own the Q8 and an Anker LC90 (As a disclaimer, it was gifted to me. I heard y’all don’t like zoomies). I’ve seen the D18 and D4V2, but I was looking at the ROT66 Gen2 instead because it has a tripod mount. If it matters, I use the lights to illuminate boulders for rock climbing at night. It’s important to me to have an even beam so that photos and videos have healthy exposures. Throw doesn’t matter to me as much as runtime, weight, and a wide, uniform beam. Maybe there are more appropriate lights that ship as mules? Or is the ROT66 fitting?

My apologies to the mods if that last paragraph is off-topic for the forum.

Scallywag
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Another cool thing you could try is to pull the reflector and put a large aspheric lens over the top, to make a giant version of the Amutorch AT40. Wouldn’t be a perfectly even beam but it would sure be an interesting one.

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kiriba-ru
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I understand you, I have not used my Q8 much because it was too throwy for me.
I don’t think mule is great choice for such big light. Have you ever used any flashlight without optics\reflector? If you have any other flashlight (not Q8), you can try to remove reflector and check how the beam looks like. Mule is great choice for indoor use, for tiny flashlights and headlamps. I guess with can-type flashlight you want at least 15-20m throw, but I can be wrong with your needs.
I think you need to check some reviews and decide what type of beam do you prefer – big led with OP reflector, or frosted\bubble top TIR, or mule. Maybe different flashlight will fit your need more than modified Q8.

Boaz
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I can't imagine how you could get a more uniform  fully floody beam than running diffuser film on this light  .seems the most full flood you can get would be diffuser film with no bezel . I'd run a second piece of film over the dc fix and not necessarily dc-fix . I've got about a dozen options. Some of which I like better than the dc fix .

http://budgetlightforum.com/node/42208

 On my Q-8's I run a diffuser cap that I can pop on and off /. They are easy to make and are on lots of my lights since I generally default to wanting flood ...but are easily removable .

on lights like the Thorfire TK4A you can put it on either end which makes for a nice place to store it if you suddenly want throw .

http://budgetlightforum.com/node/53971

       καὶ τὸ φῶς ἐν τῇ σκοτίᾳ φαίνει καὶ ἡ σκοτία αὐτὸ οὐ κατέλαβεν

                            

       Dc-fix diffuser film  >…  http://budgetlightforum.com/node/42208

whatisthisidonteven
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Quote:
Another cool thing you could try…
Aspheric lens? Wow, sounds cool! Perhaps I’m looking at the wrong suppliers but what I saw was $500 and up. I’d just buy a whole bunch of new lights at that price though

Quote:
If you have any other flashlight (not Q8),…
All I really have is the Q8. I don’t think I could make my zoomie work. Kind of a bummer if a mule is a bad idea in this case

Quote:
I run a diffuser cap…
Haha, yeah, I hear you about the detachable diffuser cap. Before I got the dc fix I used a cap I made out of wax paper and twist ties. It was pretty lame xD. I’ve looked at the one from sofirn at this link , but I thought I’d ask here first to see if there was a more elegant solution
kiriba-ru
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If you have a source of old (broken) led lamps, you can find some suitable diffuser.
Mule is not necessarily a bad idea, I just worry if mule will be more floody than you need.