New Convoy C8 – Clearly better

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J-Dub74
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New Convoy C8 – Clearly better

A while back Simon and I had a conversation about the Convoy C8.
It’s an older design as we all know. Most of us here on BLF have owned one (or several) for years. It’s very mod friendly and a great compact thrower in the tried and true single 18650 format favored by so many.

From the start Convoy has in my opinion been making one of the best versions of the C8 that money can buy.

Still, I thought the C8 could use a bit of a makeover to bring it some new life. With that new life of course… it must have a new look. That’s where clear anodizing comes in. This essentially brings the look of bare aluminum with the benefits of anodizing.

If you’ve seen pictures of the new clear anodized L6 you have an idea what to expect.

The clear anodizing is beautiful in my opinion, but why not go a couple steps further?

In addition to its stunning new looks, here is what the new clear anodized C8 is bringing to the table:

  • AR coated glass comes standard.
  • A Cree XPL-HI emitter in your choice of tint is standard.
  • A DTP copper MCPCB for the XPL-HI to rest on comes standard.

Let’s pause to have a look before at this thing we talk about the driver…

Now, onto the driver:

To help keep the C8 comfortably in the budget range we are still using a 2.8A Nanjg based driver but this is where it breaks away from the crowd…

Several months ago I asked a programmer friend what we could do to improve the main line of Convoy drivers without a big cost increase. I mentioned what my goals were and we went back and forth on the details. I am quite happy with the end result. I think you will be too.

Who is this programmer you ask? Why that would be our very own ToyKeeper of course. Grad

Here is a bit of what the new UI designed by ToyKeeper for Convoy is bringing to the table:

  • A total of 12 user selectable mode groups.
  • Modes with and without Moonlight mode
  • Modes with and without blinkies (not just strobe but SOS, biking flasher and battery-check)
  • Modes than run lo to high and modes that run high to low
  • Mode memory that can be toggled on or off
  • 2 Low power/low heat modes that max out at 50% output.

The new clear anodized Convoy C8 will be the first to incorporate this new driver but certainly not the last…

A small cost increase of around $3-4 is necessary to cover all these upgrades.

Note: Simon will give BLF members the same 15% discount he does on most Convoy flashlights. All you have to do is ask him through the Aliexpress message system when placing your order to adjust the price for BLF 15% discount.

Update 2016-09-09
The clear C8 is available now in the Convoy store!
Direct link: Purchase the Clear Convoy C8 HERE
Simon created a nice diagram for the UI too. That will be added to post #2 along with the driver details.

Update 2016-09-10
I added a note about the 15% BLF discount above and updated post #2 for clarification.

Edited by: J-Dub74 on 09/10/2016 - 15:24
J-Dub74
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Here is the UI description for the new Biscotti firmware written for Convoy by ToyKeeper:

Note: You will see “tap” used in these instructions. Tap = a half press of the button. The switch does not “click” with a tap.

While off:

  • Fully click and release to turn the light on. It will go to the first mode or the last-used mode, depending on whether you enabled mode memory.

While on:

  • Short tap: Do a short (less than 0.5s) half-press to go forward to the next mode.
  • Long tap: Do a long (longer than 0.5s) half-press to reset to the first mode (if mode memory is turned off).
  • Fully click and release to turn the light off.
  • Short tap a bunch of times (10+ taps, or until the light stops turning on) to enter config mode.

Blinky modes:
Some mode groups have blinky modes. They are not hidden, but if you leave mode memory off you can skip them with a long press which returns you to the first setting in your selected mode group.

  • Tactical strobe (~10 Hz)
  • Biking flasher (2-level stutter beacon, 1 Hz)
  • Battery-check
    Battery check works by a number of blinks to represent battery voltage.
    Each blink represents approximately 25% battery charge ( 1 = low battery, 4 = full, 5 blinks = over-charged)
  • SOS

Configuration options:

In config mode you have 2 options. It will blink to show which option is active, then “flicker” for a few seconds. Tap the switch during the “flicker” that follows the desired number of blink to select that configuration option.

  • 1 blink = Mode group selection.
  • 2 blinks = Mode memory on/off

How to program your light while in config mode:

  • Option 1. Mode group selection: This is accessed in config mode after tapping during the “flicker” following 1 blink. The light will now come on in a special group-select mode. The light will start counting out sets of blinks from 1 to 12 blinks with a pause between each set of blinks, then pause and repeat or “loop”. Turn the light off after the number of blinks that represents the mode group you want to enable.

Example: To select group 5 , let it blink five times, then fully click the switch button during the pause after the fifth blink.

Caution: Do not leave the light in the mode group selection loop for long periods of time. Doing so can cause unnecessary wear on the driver’s memory and may lead to driver malfunction.

  • Option 2. Mode memory toggle: This is accessed in config mode after tapping during the “flicker” following 2 blinks. Mode memory is turned off by default. Tap during the “flicker” following 2 blinks to turn mode memory on or off.

Mode groups: (output is approximate)

  1. 0.1%, 1%, 10%, 35%, 100%, strobe, biking, battery-check
  2. 0.1%, 1%, 10%, 35%, 100%
  3. 100%, 35%, 10%, 1%, 0.1%
  4. 1%, 20%, 100%, strobe, biking, battery-check, SOS
  5. 1%, 20%, 100%
  6. 100%, 20%, 1%
  7. 0.1%, 1%, 10%, 50%, strobe, biking, battery-check, SOS
  8. 0.1%, 1%, 10%, 50%
  9. 50%, 10%, 1%, 0.1%
  10. 1%, 10%, 35%, 100%
  11. 100%, 20%, strobe
  12. 100% only

Edit:
Simon made a nice diagram for UI. Thumbs Up

Edit 2016-09-10: The new firmware has been given the name “Biscotti”
Those who wish to flash this on their own drivers can find the firmware and source code here: Biscotti firmware

keltex78
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Hmmmm…. Something’s missing… Silly

Looks nice though! Now where can I buy some of those isolation discs Simon is using there?


Keepin’ the “B” in BLF

Don wrote:
It sounds like the XM LEDs won’t really be suitable for flashlight use. Pity…

tech
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while I like the technical features I am a “black flashlight” guy Wink
silver is just not my cup of tea for lights… but that does not mean it doesn’t look cool!

really outstanding design/execution

DavidEF
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This is a great upgrade (or rather, group of upgrades)! Great job guys!

Reason is not automatic. Those who deny it cannot be conquered by it. Do not count on them. Leave them alone.
-Ayn Rand

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tech wrote:
while I like the technical features I am a “black flashlight” guy Wink
silver is just not my cup of tea for lights… but that does not mean it doesn’t look cool!

What about Blue? Red? Green? Convoy S2 colors would look great on this flashlight, I think (Well, maybe not the green, actually Sick ).

Edit: Oh yeah! Forgot grey! Love

Reason is not automatic. Those who deny it cannot be conquered by it. Do not count on them. Leave them alone.
-Ayn Rand

tech
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I forgot to mention that all my S2+ are actually grey – also an amazing color!

Guess I am no longer into black flashlights. Big Smile

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Damn, i have 2 convoy hosts that are on the way to me.. and now this?! not to mention my old C8 with removable pill design .. can i have one for free? lol

 Olight i3s, Olight S1, Olight S Mini, JetBeam Jet-1, BLF 348, Astrolux S41S, UF SK-98, Convoy S2+ 3*XP-G2, Convoy S2+ 3*XPL, Convoy S2+ 219CT, Convoy M1, Convoy C8, Brinyte B158, Courui D01, Convoy L6, Noctigon M43

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The second pic gives the light a more mat finish. Really, really nice. Looks like I’ll keep an eye on this C8…

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Super cool!

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Wow!
Sweet looking light wih nice upgrades, without breaking the bank

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I will have to get one of those! Really pretty and the driver sounds great! I hope the driver can be purchased by itself.

EDC rotation:
Convoy S2+, 6*7135, XM-L2 3D, 10 degree TIR, PilotDog lighted tailcap.
Convoy S2+, H17F, XM-L2 4C, lighted tailcap
Zebralight SC52w-L2
Olight S1A
Olight S1R

atbglenn
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tech wrote:
I forgot to mention that all my S2+ are actually grey – also an amazing color!

Guess I am no longer into black flashlights. Big Smile

I have black, blue, green, and grey S2+‘s. My favorite is grey

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Nice work with the driver! Great upgrade from feedback while still keeping costs low.

My Favorite Modded Lights: X6R, S8 , X2R , M6, SP03

Major Projects:  Illuminated Tailcap, TripleDown/TripleStack Driver

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That’s quite a bit of firmware for a attiny13 based driver. Nice job!

mdeni
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The color is very good. Mostly because it will not show scratches and dings at all. It will look brand new after 20 years of use. That is why i like gray metals.

The driver will evidently underdrive the led which is a pity. So my question is, will this driver be available with 4 more chips over the existing ones? Or at least will soldering 4-8 chips on top of the existing be a problem for this driver?

J-Dub74
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DavidEF wrote:
tech wrote:
while I like the technical features I am a “black flashlight” guy Wink
silver is just not my cup of tea for lights… but that does not mean it doesn’t look cool!

What about Blue? Red? Green? Convoy S2 colors would look great on this flashlight, I think (Well, maybe not the green, actually Sick ).

Edit: Oh yeah! Forgot grey! Love


Dude Simon’s had a grey C8 for a long time. Same color as the grey S2+. Where you been? Wink
Grey C8

I don’t know about the rest of the rainbow though. Silly

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LightRider wrote:
That’s quite a bit of firmware for a attiny13 based driver. Nice job!

It’s not that hard to believe when you consider the one who wrote the firmware is our very own ToyKeeper! Party

Reason is not automatic. Those who deny it cannot be conquered by it. Do not count on them. Leave them alone.
-Ayn Rand

mattlward
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It is not grey… it is clear so the natural aluminum color is visible…

EDC rotation:
Convoy S2+, 6*7135, XM-L2 3D, 10 degree TIR, PilotDog lighted tailcap.
Convoy S2+, H17F, XM-L2 4C, lighted tailcap
Zebralight SC52w-L2
Olight S1A
Olight S1R

msim
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Glad I gave away a stock C8 recently so I have an excuse to replace it!

J-Dub74
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mattlward wrote:
I will have to get one of those! Really pretty and the driver sounds great! I hope the driver can be purchased by itself.

The drivers will indeed be available for sale but not for a little while yet. As you’ll note in one of the pics the new driver board is red. We did this so there would be no mistakes in whether you have the new version with the new firmware or the older driver. I really like the red color. I’ll announce it when it’s available as a separate item. It may be a month or so.
The Miller
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Love the grey Convoy C8
But MAN this looks so much better!

Great work with the driver.
MOON!
Oh TK, Simon and J-Dub74 you did it, smashing so much lights by making this one, thanks!

J-Dub74
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pilotdog68 wrote:
Nice work with the driver! Great upgrade from feedback while still keeping costs low.

Thanks PD! Smile That was my goal. ToyKeeper deserves all the thanks for bringing this one to life. I’m just an idea man. She tolerated my pestering for a long time on this one! I umm tend to talk a lot. Blushing
BrianK
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Will it be possible to buy the parts to upgrade our existing C8s?

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J-Dub74 wrote:
DavidEF wrote:
tech wrote:
while I like the technical features I am a “black flashlight” guy Wink
silver is just not my cup of tea for lights… but that does not mean it doesn’t look cool!

What about Blue? Red? Green? Convoy S2 colors would look great on this flashlight, I think (Well, maybe not the green, actually Sick ).

Edit: Oh yeah! Forgot grey! Love


Dude Simon’s had a grey C8 for a long time. Same color as the grey S2+. Where you been? Wink
Grey C8

I don’t know about the rest of the rainbow though. Silly


I forgot about the gray C8. That’s nice! I don’t need a whole rainbow anyway, just give me a Blue one. Big Smile

Reason is not automatic. Those who deny it cannot be conquered by it. Do not count on them. Leave them alone.
-Ayn Rand

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Mine doesn’t have the upgraded driver, yet. I won the C8 through the OL auction that JDub arranged and Simon donated. Much to my surprise, here’s C8 clear ano #1.




J-Dub74
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DavidEF wrote:
LightRider wrote:
That’s quite a bit of firmware for a attiny13 based driver. Nice job!

It’s not that hard to believe when you consider the one who wrote the firmware is our very own ToyKeeper! Party

You got that right buddy!

TK rocks! Beer

Aggressor
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J-Dub74 wrote:
mattlward wrote:
I will have to get one of those! Really pretty and the driver sounds great! I hope the driver can be purchased by itself.
The drivers will indeed be available for sale but not for a little while yet. As you’ll note in one of the pics the new driver board is red. We did this so there would be no mistakes in whether you have the new version with the new firmware or the older driver. I really like the red color. I’ll announce it when it’s available as a separate item. It may be a month or so.

Amazing work!

Are there other differences in the driver, besides new firmware?

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Excellent!!

J-Dub74
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RobertB wrote:
Mine doesn’t have the upgraded driver, yet. I won the C8 through the OL auction that JDub arranged and Simon donated. Much to my surprise, here’s C8 clear ano #1.
!{width:70%}http://i.imgur.com/hmaQLFB.jpg!

I was happy I could work that out for you buddy. You were quite generous in your bidding to help Old Lumens. Simon was happy to help and was happy to use the new clear anodized C8 host to build your auction winning light. Thank you for keeping it quiet until I made the official post for the clear C8.

You know how crazy these BLF types can get when they see something new. Wink

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DavidEF wrote:

What about Blue? Red? Green? Convoy S2 colors would look great on this flashlight, I think (Well, maybe not the green, actually Sick ).
Yes pleeeease!
I’ll buy them all, including the green one. And the clear one too, which really looks beautiful.
It’s not only that I like colors, it’s also much easier to grab the right light when using the same host type for builds with different characteristics.

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