DONE - How to open Tiablo "light module"?

23 posts / 0 new
Last post
ohaya
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 6 months ago
Joined: 03/16/2013 - 19:01
Posts: 5337
Location: US
DONE - How to open Tiablo "light module"?

Hi,

I got a couple of Tiablo lights (an ACE.G and A10G) plus an “ACE upgrade” from the IS garage sale earlier this week. All are working, but badly in need of upgrades :)…

I think that their design of these lights is that they all have a kind of light module piece, that has the emitter and driver, but I can’t figure out how to get into these. I’ve found a couple of threads on the “other forum” where some users had used “a fine screwdriver and a hammer”, but with very little detail (I’ve posted asking for info).

Has any worked with these lights, and can provide any info?

The ACE.G has an MCE emitter, and I was wondering if maybe an XM-L2 or XM-L2 U2 might be better?

The A10G seems to have a kind of unique driver, where you can set the high brightness.

Thanks,
Jim

Edit: The ACE upgrade kit has a module with an MCE emitter, but doesn’t fit either of the lights, so I can “practice” on that one.

Edited by: ohaya on 05/16/2013 - 21:28
bikenber73
bikenber73's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 days 2 hours ago
Joined: 11/12/2011 - 15:09
Posts: 1998
Location: Maryland USA

I have an A7 I would love to upgrade!  

ohaya
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 6 months ago
Joined: 03/16/2013 - 19:01
Posts: 5337
Location: US
bikenber73 wrote:

I have an A7 I would love to upgrade!  

I didn’t mention it, but I also got an A7 along with the others. And yes, upgrading that would be nice, but that has a similar type module, that appears to be built like an armored truck :)!

Edit:

Here’re the 2 threads I found:

http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/showthread.php?194753-Tiablo-A8-SSC-P7-flamethrower

http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/showthread.php?361733-Tiablo-A8-Ital...)

That 2nd one has a link to:

http://www.cpfitaliaforum.it/phpbb/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=4130&hilit=+tiablo

which is in Italian…

Edit 2: From the 1st link, it sounds like they went in from the emitter side, and then pushed the driver out by sticking a screwdriver through the side holes of the emitter PCB, but what I can’t figure out is how to get that metal cover that covers the emitter off?

ohaya
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 6 months ago
Joined: 03/16/2013 - 19:01
Posts: 5337
Location: US

Here’s what one of the modules looks like. This is from the ACE upgrade (my practice target), but they all look similar:

The emitter end:

The driver end:

And, a closeup of the emitter end:

In the last pic, that black plate that surrounds the emitter appears to be metal, and, I don’t see anywhere obvious on the edges to get in with a screwdriver.

The only thing that seems possible is that there might be some special tool that locks on to the 4 small holes around the emitter, so that you can pull the cover plate off? But obviously, I don’t have such a tool.

One other thing I’ve been thinking of is using a dremel to drill a couple of larger holes that would allow me to use something like a hook to pull the cover off?

I guess that one other thing I’m wondering about is the ACE.G that I have, which already has an MC-E emitter on it. I thought that the MC-E is suppose to be a good emitter, but the light seems pretty weak. Is that because they might be using a really conservative (low amps) driver for the MC-E emitter?

ohaya
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 6 months ago
Joined: 03/16/2013 - 19:01
Posts: 5337
Location: US

Hi,

Does anyone have any idea about this (how to open it)? I think I’m going to have to drill a couple of holes in the cover, but really would rather not, so if any one knows another way, please post it!

Thanks,
Jim

ohaya
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 6 months ago
Joined: 03/16/2013 - 19:01
Posts: 5337
Location: US

I was able to get the cover off. I drilled two opposing holes, and shoved the point of a pair of tweezers and then pried, and it popped off:

Here’s a closeup of the emitter and emitter PCB:

But, that emitter PCB is somehow attached/stuck to the top of the module, and I can’t budge it (I don’t want to damage it).

Thinking about this, this is an MC-E emitter, right?

And as such, it should have pretty good output if it was well-driven? Is this correct?

If so, it seems like my goal here should be to try to drive this emitter “better”? Is that correct?

However, from reading the CREE datasheet for the MC-E, I’m having difficulty understanding what the best forward current should be, and also, what kind of improvement in output (lumens?), if any, could be expected?

So anyway, I need to get the driver out of the module, but from the pics above, and even now after popping the emitter cover off, I don’t see any obvious way to get the driver PCB out :(…

I’ve tried shoving the tweezer point down into the open space on the side of the emitter PCB, but it’s not going in far enough to try to push out the driver PCB.

Does anyone have any ideas about this?

Thanks,
Jim

ohaya
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 6 months ago
Joined: 03/16/2013 - 19:01
Posts: 5337
Location: US

More progress:

- I pried the emitter PCB off using a small flat screwdriver. It looks like it was held to the top of the module using something like Fujik:

- Then, I used the same small screwdriver and a hammer to pound downward, and the “driver” popped out from the other end:

Peeking inside from the bottom/driver side, it looks like:

The module was semi-filled/potted with that Fujik-like substance
The “driver” PCB is really just a contact board with the positive spring attached on one side

I can’t see if there’s an actual driver buried in the potting, but the ACE/ACE.G are a 1-mode lights, so maybe this was direct drive, i.e., battery connected directly to the emitter +/-?

I kind of don’t think so though, because I think that the ACE.G at least, was offered with an extension tube that allowed 2×18650 batteries to be used, which would be like 7+ volts, and from the CREE MC-E datasheet, it looks like maximum forward voltage for the MC-E white was 3.9 volts?

Plus Tiablo advertises the ACE.G as having constant current.

So I’m guessing that there probably is a driver PCB buried in the potting inside the module.

At this point, I’m thinking that the easiest thing might be to:

- Cut off the emitter PCB wires
- Cut off the contact board wires
- Clean out the potting inside the module
- Use a new emitter on a pcb, maybe an XM-L2 or XM-L U2, and
- Just wire directly from the new emitter to the contact board.

In other words, make the light module into a direct drive module with an XM-L something.

Thoughts????

Edit: In other words, don’t use the MC-E emitter, but save it for some other project later…

ohaya
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 6 months ago
Joined: 03/16/2013 - 19:01
Posts: 5337
Location: US

Hi,

Does anyone have any thoughts re. my last post?

Now that I think that I know how to upgrade one of these to direct drive and a newer emitter, I’d really like to know if it’d make sense to do that upgrade, and specifically for the ACE.G.

I probably won’t consider doing the same thing with the A10.G, because it has that kind of unique UI, but the ACE.G is a simple 1-mode light, so, to make it useful(ler), it’d be nice to get it to perform better than it’s current somewhat anemic performance with the MC-E emitter and whatever driver Tiablo has in the light module.

So, if I go to direct drive with:

- XM-L2
- XM-L U2, or
- XM-L2 U2

would that be better (brighter, maybe more throw and/or flood) with a 1×18650 than with the current MC-E emitter and Tiablo driver?

You all know the relative performance of the emitters much, much better than I do, so I’m seeking some guidance here.

Thanks,
Jim

Edit: The pics, etc. before this were done with a “spare” ACE upgrade module, but I think that the actual module on the ACE.G that I have would be similar, so I’m trying to decide if I want to move forward with that, or not.

bikenber73
bikenber73's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 days 2 hours ago
Joined: 11/12/2011 - 15:09
Posts: 1998
Location: Maryland USA

It looks like your alone on this one. I have very little experience moding lights. I do appreciate what your doing though!  

ohaya
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 6 months ago
Joined: 03/16/2013 - 19:01
Posts: 5337
Location: US
bikenber73 wrote:

It looks like your alone on this one. I have very little experience moding lights. I do appreciate what your doing though!  

Yes, feeling a bit lonely :), so thanks for posting :)!

Seriously though, I think that someone here should be able to provide some thoughts on whether it’d be worthwhile to upgrade the emitter.

I got the ACE.G from the IS garage sale, was in a rush, and it was probably a good light 5 years ago. The light is literally a “TANK”, but it seems way under-powered for nowadays.

I have several C8s, including one of the Convoy C8s, and an XM-L T6, that handily and visibly beat the ACE.G, both in throw and in flood, so I’m trying to turn a “sow’s ear into a silk purse” I guess :)…

ruffles
ruffles's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: 07/09/2011 - 10:18
Posts: 1020
Location: California

Just a bit of a bump to say that I’m interested in anyone’s experience as well… I’ve got an underused/underloved A9 (with aspheric, no less) that I’ve always wanted to work on. It’s got a carp UI, where the first forward click gets it on low; the next full click cycle (not ‘press’, like a normal reverse clicky) gets it to high.


 

ohaya
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 6 months ago
Joined: 03/16/2013 - 19:01
Posts: 5337
Location: US
ruffles wrote:
Just a bit of a bump to say that I’m interested in anyone’s experience as well… I’ve got an underused/underloved A9 (with aspheric, no less) that I’ve always wanted to work on. It’s got a carp UI, where the first forward click gets it on low; the next full click cycle (not ‘press’, like a normal reverse clicky) gets it to high.

Hi,

I don’t have an A9, but does it have a “light module” like the one that I had in the pics in this thread? I got 3 different models. The ACE.G and A10G look very similar, and have similar modules. I haven’t tried it, but I’m guessing you could move the modules between the two lights and they’d work fine. The other one I have is an A7, which is smaller, but has a smaller, but similar “module”. So, I’ve been kind of guessing that all of the Tiablo lights follow the same design “pattern”, with slight detail differences.

Assuming that’s the case, then you may be able to, at high level, follow what I did with the A9, and if you do that, maybe replace the original emitter and driver with a more “modern” alternative, but still keep that “tank-like” sturdiness.

That’s really my goal, i.e., to get a more modern, powerful, light, at least with the ACE.G. I’m not quite sure what I’m going to do with the A10G or the A7 yet, but if I succeed with “upgrading” the ACE.G, I’ll probably do something similar with them also.

Maybe you can post some pics of what you have?

Jim

ohaya
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 6 months ago
Joined: 03/16/2013 - 19:01
Posts: 5337
Location: US

I applied the same procedure to the ACE.G module, and went a little further, and was able to completely “disassemble” the light module:

The piece with the spring that I removed earlier was actually just a contact board. *INSIDE *the module, there was actually a driver board, seen in the pics above.

The problem was that the driver board wouldn’t fit through the hole in the module, so I had to break it apart to get it out, as seen in the pics above.

I also noted that on the non-spring side of the contact board, there use to be a trace running around the circumference of the board. That was to provide the “negative” contact to the light’s body. However, when I pounded the contact board to get it out earlier, it looks like that trace got de-laminated from the contact board :(, so at this point, I’m not sure if I’ll be able to even make a direct drive configuration working, but I think I can.

Worst case, if I can’t re-use the original contact board, I’m thinking that I may be able to find a contact board that fits into the hole, and use that instead.

So, what remains now to build a new, upgraded, direct drive module would be:

- Put an emitter + emitter board on the top part of the module. I think that I’ll be able to re-use the insulator plate/cap that I removed earlier, even though there are now two “extra” holes from my drilling, and that should center the emitter.

- Either re-use the original contact board, or find a new one that fits, then

- Wire the contact board to the emitter board.

And then, I think that I should have a new, upgraded light module…

Now, I need to select an emitter type that I can safely run direct-drive from a single 18650, and that will work ok with the existing reflector….

Suggestions anyone?

Edit: This is what is called “a MAJOR hack job” :)!

janko.hrasko
janko.hrasko's picture
Offline
Last seen: 10 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: 06/12/2011 - 12:51
Posts: 623
Location: Kosice, Slovakia

what is the diameter of the contact board? don’t you want to use at least some driver like qlite with wonderful 4 modes? but with a driver you’ll probably need to replace the switch if it has a resistor for low mode (full click high, full click low, full click off)
edit: and xm-l2 u2 1c would give you the most light on direct drive probably.. or xm-l u3

ohaya
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 6 months ago
Joined: 03/16/2013 - 19:01
Posts: 5337
Location: US
janko.hrasko wrote:
what is the diameter of the contact board? don’t you want to use at least some driver like qlite with wonderful 4 modes? but with a driver you’ll probably need to replace the switch if it has a resistor for low mode (full click high, full click low, full click off) edit: and xm-l2 u2 1c would give you the most light on direct drive probably.. or xm-l u3

I really need to look at the switch (I haven’t yet) before I start doing something. Thanks for the reminder :)…

This is just a 1-mode light, or was, at least.

I have these:

http://www.fasttech.com/p/1287502

http://www.fasttech.com/p/1189701

which one would you use?

I also have some drivers, I’ll check their sizes.

Thanks,
Jim

Edit: Size of opening on the driver side is 17.08mm diameter

Edit2: I have this driver – I’ll see if it fits: https://www.fasttech.com/p/1127403

ohaya
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 6 months ago
Joined: 03/16/2013 - 19:01
Posts: 5337
Location: US

After tearing the light module apart, I put off doing anything with the Tiablo ACE.G for awhile. From the beginning, I thought that the light was way too underpowered, from the brightness standpoint.

So, today, I finally got up the nerve to actually do something about it.

Parts:

- XM-L T6 on a 20mm PCB

- Generic 8*AMC 7135 driver (https://www.fasttech.com/p/1127403)

I kept reading that I should use heavier gauge wire to connect the driver to emitter, so I got some 20 AWG teflon wire from Ebay.

In the end, I was able to get this done, but using the 20 AWG wire made the job way more difficult (to me). It was very stiff, which made stuffing the extra wire into the Tiablo module difficult, and it even caused one of the solder joints on the driver to “pop” off. Also, just soldering that thick, heavy wire onto the tiny pads on the PCB was a real pain.

Also, with the thick wire, I couldn’t get the original insulator disk back on, because of the “lumps” where the solder joints were.

I didn’t want to glue the emitter PCB to the module, so what I did was put some Arctic silver under the PCB, lay the insulator disk over the emitter/emitter PCB, then carefully screw the head down on the module. I had to try that a couple times because the emitter kept going off-center.

I was finally able to get it done, but even then, the emitter is a little far back from the bottom of the reflector, but I’m not sure what I can do about that.

The driver that I mentioned above fit into the opening in the Tiablo module, but it wouldn’t stay, so I had to solder the driver to the module.

One thing is weird. That driver is suppose to have modes, but after I put everything together, it doesn’t seem to have any. I’m guessing that because of the problems that I had soldering the thicker leads to the driver, that I may have a bridge somewhere.

I’m waiting for dark now, to try it out, but it looks pretty bright :)…

Meanwhile, here’re some pics (they are UGLY!!):

Edit:

Beamshot – sorry in bathroom, and I couldn’t move far enough back):

Is this good (it looks nice to me, though) ?

Edit 2: BTW, tailcap current is slight > 3 amps…

MrCG
MrCG's picture
Offline
Last seen: 7 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: 01/17/2013 - 10:50
Posts: 530
Location: Deutschländ

Nice keyboard.

ohaya
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 6 months ago
Joined: 03/16/2013 - 19:01
Posts: 5337
Location: US
MrCG wrote:
Nice keyboard.

:)!

janko.hrasko
janko.hrasko's picture
Offline
Last seen: 10 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: 06/12/2011 - 12:51
Posts: 623
Location: Kosice, Slovakia

u3 and 8amc driver would be probably the best Smile
you probably didn’t connect the led- to the right spot but it’s shorting to driver- so it’s direct drive (bypassing the driver)
I didn’t have problems with 20awg wires, you could use 22 or 24 awg if it’s too stiff

ohaya
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 6 months ago
Joined: 03/16/2013 - 19:01
Posts: 5337
Location: US
janko.hrasko wrote:
u3 and 8amc driver would be probably the best Smile you probably didn’t connect the led- to the right spot but it’s shorting to driver- so it’s direct drive (bypassing the driver) I didn’t have problems with 20awg wires, you could use 22 or 24 awg if it’s too stiff

That driver I used is, I believe an 8 amc driver, and I don’t have a U3 (yet).

I may go back and try to re-do it, but actually I’m quite happy with the results. The ACE.G was originally a one-mode light, so I didn’t lose anything as far as modes, and it is definitely much, much brighter than it was before, with the original MC-E emitter and whatever driver they were using, so, like I said, I’m happy with that :)!

I don’t know if you’ve gone through the thread, with the pics I posted, but getting to the point that I could even start to think about re-building it was a major pain, so to me at least, being where I am with the light now is at least a bit of an accomplishment!! It’s at least useable now….

janko.hrasko
janko.hrasko's picture
Offline
Last seen: 10 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: 06/12/2011 - 12:51
Posts: 623
Location: Kosice, Slovakia

I didn’t want to discourage you, nice job on the mod! Smile can imagine it wasn’t easy and you don’t want to pull it out again
I have one uniquefire uf t20 direct drived with xm-l2 t6 3c (warmer tint) and it sure gives a punch, but to be safer I’m gonna put new qlite 8amc driver in near future

ohaya
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 6 months ago
Joined: 03/16/2013 - 19:01
Posts: 5337
Location: US
janko.hrasko wrote:
I didn’t want to discourage you, nice job on the mod! Smile can imagine it wasn’t easy and you don’t want to pull it out again I have one uniquefire uf t20 direct drived with xm-l2 t6 3c (warmer tint) and it sure gives a punch, but to be safer I’m gonna put new qlite 8amc driver in near future

I’m glad you understand.

I actually have a Tiablo A10.G also, which is very similar to the ACE.G that I covered in this thread. Now that I know that I can do this, I may do the A10.G, and will think about which driver and emitter. I do have an XM-L2 from FT, but I guess that I’d really like an XM-L2 U2 or U3 (I think), so may wait until I can get one of those guys. And, this time, I’ll probably not go with the 20 AWG teflon wire, but maybe 22 AWG silicone wire instead and also follow the tips on the other thread I had about soldering the emitter leads.

Later,
Jim

bikenber73
bikenber73's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 days 2 hours ago
Joined: 11/12/2011 - 15:09
Posts: 1998
Location: Maryland USA

You have convinced me to leave mine AS IS. I haven't the time nor the skills for that level of modification!

THANK YOU