Match's Mods: Modding the $1.68 BLF Delight / MXDL 1w

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Match
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Match's Mods: Modding the $1.68 BLF Delight / MXDL 1w

Gentlemen,

Today we take a look at the cheapest of the cheap 1xAA torch, and what it  takes to turn it into a respectable light.  So many places make and sell variations of these that there's bound to be slight differences between, but for the most part this mod should be doable on the majority of them.  The key here is that the head  and tailcap are both removable.  Although it would still be possible if the head wasn't removeable, that attribute does make things easier.  Another point I wanted to keep was that this would only require hand tools and the total mod cost would be as cheap as possible.  Read on to see if I succeeded:

Above is the 3 pack that I picked up and to the right is what one looks like after a quick teardown.  The guts aren't glued in per say, but are press fit and will come out of the head with the proper amount of force.  Pay particular attention to the white spacer in the above photo, for that and the reflector are the only two pieces that we'll be saving.

  Since I plan on driving the new emitter with more than 50ma like the origional, a suitable heatsink will be required. A little scrounging around in various spare parts bins turned up an old brass bolt.  The shaft was too thin, but with a bit of filing the head would be perfect.  The easiest way I found to do this was to chuck the bolt up in a variable speed drill and then hold the file against the head while it's spinning.  Just keep filing and test fitting. If the hand is steady enough, it'll look like it was cut on a lathe. 

After the bolt head is reduced to the required size and the face of the head is smoothed out, place the bolt in a vice and drill two holes for the emitter wires to pass through, then cut the head off the bolt.  I used a mounted emitter to help mark the location of the holes to drill:

Now separate the head of the bolt and use fine grit sandpaper on a flat surface to smooth everything up.  It is especially important that the top where the emitter will sit be absolutely flat.  Here's the final heatsink:

To finish up our new pill we need to modify that white spacer that was shown in the first pic.  It just needs to be cut down to ~6mm in height and have the three plastic inner nubs cut off.  After a little bit of sanding, the inner diameter was the perfect size for a spare driver I had lying around.  I used a .8v-1.7v 3-mode driver from shiningbeam.  Mode spacing is 900ma, 200ma, and 25ma with mode memory.  I fit the driver into the base of the plastic ring and secured it with a few drops of superglue.  

For the emitter, I've had an old Q5 gathering dust that was just pining to be used.  To ensure a flush fit with the new heatsink I also sanded the emitter pcb on the same table with sandpaper to ensure a perfectly flat mating surface.  A drop of artic silver and a drop of superglue is all that's needed to mount the emitter.  Once that's done, I glued the driver/spacer assembly to the base and soldered on the leads.  The pill turned out like this:

A few of  you may be thinking - "Match you idiot....with the driver surrounded by plastic, how's it going to get it's negative contact?" Here's what I came up with for that little dilemma - A thin piece of copper soldered to the emitter then molded around the side of the pill.  Here's how it turned out:

The only prep work left was a quick modification to the stock reflector.  It entails trimming the bottom of it to fit the new emitter. 

Before final assembly of the torch head, I sanded the inside of the head to remove the black coating pitifully trying to pass itself off as anodizing.  I also added a very thin piece of copper sheet to the inside to help with heat and insure a good electrical ground.  Here's the added copper sheeting created and installed:

Now the only thing left was to put everything back together.  The stock lens and reflector slide in (tightly) at first, followed by the newly formed pill.  Everything is press fit, with retention being provided still by that white spacer in the pill.  Here's what it looks like in the head and the business end as it compares to stock.  

The only thing left was to slip a fresh cell into it and enjoy the fruits of my labor.  Due to the driver choice, I'm limited to alkaline, eneloop, or NiZn...even though the heatsink is more than up to the task of dealing with a 14500.  Initial results were interesting.  Even though the reflector was smooth, I expected a floodier, ringier beam due to how short it is.  Well, there's a bit of unfortunate ringiness, but the center hotspot is quite intense. Instead of describing it, here's a side by side of modified(high mode) vs stock:

Not surprising, it blows the anemic stocker out of the water. It actually compares favorably with a romisen RC-G2 in output...just not quite as throwy (but in a much smaller package). 

  So, what have I ended up with after all this? A very lightweight 1AA light with respectable output, 3 modes w/memory, and a reverse clicky all wrapped up inside a compact package.  The parts used for this consist of an emitter, driver, a little bit of copper foil, and one brass nut...all leftover bits and pieces from other projects. 

As always, I hope you enjoyed this...and if not, just report it as spam Tongue out

 

Edited by: sb56637 on 08/26/2014 - 17:29
mizjif
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awesome!!:D very impressive, and a quick turnaround time from purchase to mod!  very impressed. well done match!

fishinfool
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When I grow up I wanna be just like you Match. Smile

Don wrote:

"But as I said long ago, you are more likely to be killed by a dead fish dropped by a seagull in the Sahara Desert than by a lithium ion

Match
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Thanks guys.  But I'm thinking I should have titled this one "How to polish a turd" or "Of Silk Purses and Sows Ears"...

sb56637
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Match wrote:

Thanks guys.  But I'm thinking I should have titled this one "How to polish a turd" or "Of Silk Purses and Sows Ears"...

Exactly! But you sure did make a success out of it. I'm also very impressed. That's an extremely well done, solid, piece of work. I suspect that even the likes of Fenix & Co. aren't that clean and solid inside. Fascinating post, thanks for the great details and photos.

Frontpage'd and Sticky'd.

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scruffy dog
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i wish i had the know how to do that sort of mod

 i just don't understand the electronics great stuff Match thank for sharing

Match
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scruffy dog wrote:

i wish i had the know how to do that sort of mod

 i just don't understand the electronics great stuff Match thank for sharing

That's the beauty of trying a mod like this... The cost is dirt cheap for the learning experience you'll receive.  As far as the electronics understanding goes: As long as the positive post on the battery touches the center of the driver board, the negative side of the battery has a path to the outer ring, and the emitter is soldered correctly,  it'll work great.

Don
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I think this is wonderful! Negligible budget and a great deal of satisfaction about what you've polished. And, let's face it, it keeps one out of mischief.

 

My first ever mod was a Maglite Solitaire, a bit of dowel, a 12V battery and resistor and a 5mm LED ground down to 3mm.

Pointless, not much use to anyone (Though way more useful than the original) epoxy dust everywhere from grinding down the LED. A nylon brush on a Dremel will polish epoxy nicely back to clear.

 

But what a sense of achievement - and a great way to stay out of trouble on an otherwise boring evening.

 

Many of my mods end up involving duct tape - yours are far neater.

 

The numbers from my light tests are always to be found here.

https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0ApkFM37n_QnRdDU5MDNzOURjYllmZHI...

Huny74
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Great and inspiring mod, Match!

You really lit that light! Wink

sixty545
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Also compliments from me, Match, well thought out and done.

Piers
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Match wrote:

 

That's some really nice work there Match, you've really pushed me into thinking about doing soemthing my self. I used to do metal work and the like, but a lack of access to machines has stopped that...maybe it shouldn't Smile

Match
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Again, thanks for the kinds words Gents...

Pook, I say go for it!  A flat bench, a good set of files, and a drill can yield great results. Oh, patience and coffee really help as well! Laughing

arenat
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"That's some really nice work there Match, you've really pushed me into thinking about doing soemthing my self. I used to do metal work and the like, but a lack of access to machines has stopped that...maybe it shouldn't Smile"

 

Exactly as Pook say above , many thanks Match !

I modded a 'Police' one with a 5 modes and a red K2 ,  too messy to show here , a very crappy  job for sure...haha

 

jekostas
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Very well done!  

sb56637
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Yes, as some have commented, Match's work here couldn't even be qualified as a hack, it's just plain good handywork with a bit of engineering and a lot of creativity thrown in. His module is really super clean and tidy, I wish they would sell them like that.

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xP.1337
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man, and i was just waiting for the parts for my BLF Delight mod. match beats me again

sb56637
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xP.1337 wrote:

man, and i was just waiting for the parts for my BLF Delight mod. match beats me again

Ah, what do you have planned? Cheap 1xAA mods are interesting for me.

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xP.1337
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i had a few things on order.

first was an XP-E swap out direct drive with resistor for 14500 OR AA.

second was http://besthongkong.com/product_info.php?cPath=19_63&products_id=526

direct drive. the latter would require no cutting, and greatly increase the output, the first would require the SAME (or similar) mod to match. since im not the first, ill save the XP-E for another flashlight and go with the second lol

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Mine are all Blue and purple ..I like the little field and stream delights  beam color a 100 times better than the 10 bad ones I got off ebay. i guess I need to buy another  20 or so to find one good one..I was hoping  next for a   7119 mxdl ...xml 

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

                            

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

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This kind of mod beats all the expensive lights out there! I love seeing what I can do with as little as possible. The local Dick's has these lights... gonna have to check them out again.

Rich

"I am the flashlight king! I can light anything!"

jb1
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I think it's pretty cool to turn a $1.68 flashlight into something useful. Thanks for taking the time to document and share the process.

Hayley
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Thanks for sharing your experience

FlashPilot
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I love your copper strap grounding solution. Great Idea!

dimeotane
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My Ebay Delights don't have a removeable head like this mod by match shows, just the tail switch can be unscrewed.   He shows a 'field and stream' box so his must be slightly different?  Does the HX-g011 powerlight have both a removeable head and switch? 

I like the idea of learning to mod a cheap light, because if you mess it up as a beginner, it's not costing you big bucks.

Anyone think if it's possible to mod something like the powerlight to have the emitter without a reflector put at a 90 angle to the body so it can be used like a headlamp?  Like a really cheap 'zebralight' mod. 

Match
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Yup.  It seems to be hit or miss on whether or not the head is removable.  It's still possible to mod a fixed head, just a tad more difficult.

As far as making a headlight, I don't know that a powerlight would be the best host for one.  I've been meaning to try and make my own, but haven't gotten around to it yet.

 

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Why are you limited to the batteries you state? What’s wrong with any 1.2V NiMh?

We don’t inherit the Earth from our parents; we borrow it from our children.

nofearek9
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very nice mod on such cheap flashlight.

MRsDNF
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Impresive in its simplicity. I like it. Thanks for sharing.

 

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

                      "My man mousehole needs one too"

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.

 

Match
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Wow!  I almost forgot about this little mod...

seanspotatobusiness wrote:
Why are you limited to the batteries you state? What's wrong with any 1.2V NiMh?

I should have stated any non lithium ion batterys (no 14500's for this one).  That driver will work fine with any battery below 1.7vdc.

Btw, welcome to BLF!

okupka
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I have question about the driver you used.
It it really capable of getting 900ma output with eneloop? How much is current draw?

Unkl Ian
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Is the head held on with Loctite, or similar ?
Or is it pressed on ?

A little heat will soften Loctite.

dimeotane wrote:

My Ebay Delights don’t have a removeable head like this mod by match shows, just the tail switch can be unscrewed.   He shows a ‘field and stream’ box so his must be slightly different?  Does the HX-g011 powerlight have both a removeable head and switch? 

I like the idea of learning to mod a cheap light, because if you mess it up as a beginner, it’s not costing you big bucks.

Anyone think if it’s possible to mod something like the powerlight to have the emitter without a reflector put at a 90 angle to the body so it can be used like a headlamp?  Like a really cheap ‘zebralight’ mod. 

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