Mod Advice For a Cheapo Flashlight (switch issue)

38 posts / 0 new
Last post

Pages

NeutralFan
NeutralFan's picture
Offline
Last seen: 9 hours 13 min ago
Joined: 03/20/2014 - 19:22
Posts: 339
Location: Wisconsin, USA
Mod Advice For a Cheapo Flashlight (switch issue)

I have 6 of these “cheapo” flashlights that I bought several years ago for $5, so less than $1 each. Overall they are nice flashlights, they work well, single mode, reverse clicky switch, use a single AA battery, the kids use them on sleep overs, and I have them in the vehicles. But they have an awful blue tint.

Left is the cheapo, right is an Astrolux A01 Nichia 219B on high.

Here is the disassembly of the flashlight.





Before I took it apart, I thought about dedoming the LED, but that does not look possible. The dome is plastic and it has a small reflector and wires built into it.

Maybe I can just replace the LED?

Maybe it’s not even worth trying to modify it?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

(Edited again to hopefully show the pictures and to replace missing text.)
(Edited again to switch the pictures from Google Photos to Flickr)

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

Edited by: NeutralFan on 03/31/2017 - 21:43
Rufusbduck
Rufusbduck's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 month 1 week ago
Joined: 04/04/2012 - 15:34
Posts: 10364
Location: Golden state

Can’t see the pics, just thumbnail ?‘s.

Three Tanna leaves to give him life, nine to give him movement. But what if he eats the whole bag?

Scott

NeutralFan
NeutralFan's picture
Offline
Last seen: 9 hours 13 min ago
Joined: 03/20/2014 - 19:22
Posts: 339
Location: Wisconsin, USA

Thanks for letting me know Rufusbduck. They look fine on my computer after I posted it, along with my other posts, but apparently there is an issue. I will try to figure it out. I also see that I cannot see the pictures on my phone. Strange.

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

NeutralFan
NeutralFan's picture
Offline
Last seen: 9 hours 13 min ago
Joined: 03/20/2014 - 19:22
Posts: 339
Location: Wisconsin, USA

I think I figured it now, I can see my pictures on my computer AND my phone. Please let me know if it’s still an issue.

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

sedstar
Offline
Last seen: 2 months 5 days ago
Joined: 04/03/2013 - 18:23
Posts: 918
Location: East coast, united states...

i’d change the emitter, if nothing else to get the tint i might want

is the PCB sitting in a plastic pill? i wouldnt do a driver swap though, unless you get that worked out.

With enough black coffee and cigarettes? all things are possible…

I am currently still shipping… REAL GENUINE CREE xp-g emitters, the classic… brace yourself? as low as 20 cents apiece!! Check out the SALES THREAD, everyone is happy… then PM me

SALES THREAD:
http://budgetlightforum.com/node/52528

if you are into reloading? this is my site… I inherited the remains of what was once arguably the best reloading site on the internet… its the “BLF” of reloading sites…

http://reloadbench.freeforums.net/

if you think night vision would be cool? It IS… this site i am a member of, and its basically the “BLF” of home made scratch-built digital night vision. They are at the leading forefront of advanced DIY for digital night vision, and thats gun mounted or handheld… builds rival and exceed commercial offerings…

http://nightvisionforumuk.com/

MRsDNF
MRsDNF's picture
Online
Last seen: 2 min 24 sec ago
Joined: 12/22/2011 - 21:18
Posts: 11313
Location: A light beam away from the missus in the land of Aus.

No images here. It comes up when you click on the picture link that you have to sign into your Google account.

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.

 

sedstar
Offline
Last seen: 2 months 5 days ago
Joined: 04/03/2013 - 18:23
Posts: 918
Location: East coast, united states...

i saw the pics, made my post… now they are gone…

if that timing helps…

With enough black coffee and cigarettes? all things are possible…

I am currently still shipping… REAL GENUINE CREE xp-g emitters, the classic… brace yourself? as low as 20 cents apiece!! Check out the SALES THREAD, everyone is happy… then PM me

SALES THREAD:
http://budgetlightforum.com/node/52528

if you are into reloading? this is my site… I inherited the remains of what was once arguably the best reloading site on the internet… its the “BLF” of reloading sites…

http://reloadbench.freeforums.net/

if you think night vision would be cool? It IS… this site i am a member of, and its basically the “BLF” of home made scratch-built digital night vision. They are at the leading forefront of advanced DIY for digital night vision, and thats gun mounted or handheld… builds rival and exceed commercial offerings…

http://nightvisionforumuk.com/

NeutralFan
NeutralFan's picture
Offline
Last seen: 9 hours 13 min ago
Joined: 03/20/2014 - 19:22
Posts: 339
Location: Wisconsin, USA

Thanks for letting me know sedstar. I’ve reposted the pictures again so hopefully they appear now. Please be patient with me.

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

raccoon city
raccoon city's picture
Offline
Last seen: 12 hours 55 min ago
Joined: 10/06/2010 - 02:35
Posts: 9218
Location: रॅकून शहर Palm Desert CA USA

I see the pics for the first time!

LightRider
LightRider's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 hours 10 min ago
Joined: 08/05/2015 - 09:52
Posts: 1852
Location: U.P. MI, USA

No pics and no thumbnails. Sad

MtnDon
MtnDon's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 hours 7 min ago
Joined: 08/27/2015 - 18:25
Posts: 1298
Location: Expatriate Canadian in New Mexico, USA

no images, no thumbs

kramer5150
kramer5150's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 weeks 3 days ago
Joined: 05/19/2010 - 13:43
Posts: 1811
Location: Palo Alto CA

I cant see them either…. you need to upload to an image host, copy the sharable link URL and post those here.

I use photobucket, but there are others.

Rufusbduck
Rufusbduck's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 month 1 week ago
Joined: 04/04/2012 - 15:34
Posts: 10364
Location: Golden state

The ?‘s are still small but the boxes they were in are full size so that’s an improvement. Wink how are you posting the images?

Three Tanna leaves to give him life, nine to give him movement. But what if he eats the whole bag?

Scott

sedstar
Offline
Last seen: 2 months 5 days ago
Joined: 04/03/2013 - 18:23
Posts: 918
Location: East coast, united states...

I question how i SAW THEM FINE, then they disappeared…

With enough black coffee and cigarettes? all things are possible…

I am currently still shipping… REAL GENUINE CREE xp-g emitters, the classic… brace yourself? as low as 20 cents apiece!! Check out the SALES THREAD, everyone is happy… then PM me

SALES THREAD:
http://budgetlightforum.com/node/52528

if you are into reloading? this is my site… I inherited the remains of what was once arguably the best reloading site on the internet… its the “BLF” of reloading sites…

http://reloadbench.freeforums.net/

if you think night vision would be cool? It IS… this site i am a member of, and its basically the “BLF” of home made scratch-built digital night vision. They are at the leading forefront of advanced DIY for digital night vision, and thats gun mounted or handheld… builds rival and exceed commercial offerings…

http://nightvisionforumuk.com/

The Miller
The Miller's picture
Offline
Last seen: 46 min 17 sec ago
Joined: 12/14/2015 - 12:08
Posts: 9099
Location: Charente France

Is the hoster down?

MtnDon
MtnDon's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 hours 7 min ago
Joined: 08/27/2015 - 18:25
Posts: 1298
Location: Expatriate Canadian in New Mexico, USA

They are hosted on some sort of Google site / service. I have seen people having problems with posting some Google hosted images on forums before. I forget the solution, but do believe there is one.

sedstar
Offline
Last seen: 2 months 5 days ago
Joined: 04/03/2013 - 18:23
Posts: 918
Location: East coast, united states...

the solution is…

photobucket

With enough black coffee and cigarettes? all things are possible…

I am currently still shipping… REAL GENUINE CREE xp-g emitters, the classic… brace yourself? as low as 20 cents apiece!! Check out the SALES THREAD, everyone is happy… then PM me

SALES THREAD:
http://budgetlightforum.com/node/52528

if you are into reloading? this is my site… I inherited the remains of what was once arguably the best reloading site on the internet… its the “BLF” of reloading sites…

http://reloadbench.freeforums.net/

if you think night vision would be cool? It IS… this site i am a member of, and its basically the “BLF” of home made scratch-built digital night vision. They are at the leading forefront of advanced DIY for digital night vision, and thats gun mounted or handheld… builds rival and exceed commercial offerings…

http://nightvisionforumuk.com/

NeutralFan
NeutralFan's picture
Offline
Last seen: 9 hours 13 min ago
Joined: 03/20/2014 - 19:22
Posts: 339
Location: Wisconsin, USA

Hi everyone, sorry for the technical difficulties! I tried so hard to make Google Photos work, but eventually gave up.

The first time I tried to submit a picture to BLF I created a Flickr account, but I didn’t use it since it seemed Google Photos was working. What’s strange is that the pictures looked fine when I viewed the postings, but apparently that was due to me being logged into Google.

I’m glad that I finally got this figured out and thank you for your patience.

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

Angler
Angler's picture
Online
Last seen: 12 min 39 sec ago
Joined: 07/21/2014 - 21:30
Posts: 547
Location: South Carolina

If you put a new led and star it’s going to sit much lower in the light.
Right now the led is very tall and provides the dimension to hold the reflector against the lens.
IMO I don’t think this light is worth modding.

Wow! Such bright! Many collection! Very torch! Amaze.

keltex78
keltex78's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 hours 13 min ago
Joined: 03/18/2011 - 10:15
Posts: 3231
Location: Texas

Not worth much, plastic pill, so no thermal path. You might be able to swap an original XR-E in there and get some better output, if you have spares laying around in your kit.

I don’t think dedoming would be worth trying in that light, but I have seen some of those cheap emitters where the dome was just a clear protective plastic cap…

In fact, you could probably find a better fried egg style emitter than what’s in there, but I don’t think it would be worth it. I give lights like that to little kids as toys since they won’t start fires or blind anyone with them.


Keepin’ the “B” in BLF

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

sedstar
Offline
Last seen: 2 months 5 days ago
Joined: 04/03/2013 - 18:23
Posts: 918
Location: East coast, united states...

what about just making a metal pill to replace the plastic one? looks like maybe a press fit on the plastic pill? if its a press fit, its do-able…

With enough black coffee and cigarettes? all things are possible…

I am currently still shipping… REAL GENUINE CREE xp-g emitters, the classic… brace yourself? as low as 20 cents apiece!! Check out the SALES THREAD, everyone is happy… then PM me

SALES THREAD:
http://budgetlightforum.com/node/52528

if you are into reloading? this is my site… I inherited the remains of what was once arguably the best reloading site on the internet… its the “BLF” of reloading sites…

http://reloadbench.freeforums.net/

if you think night vision would be cool? It IS… this site i am a member of, and its basically the “BLF” of home made scratch-built digital night vision. They are at the leading forefront of advanced DIY for digital night vision, and thats gun mounted or handheld… builds rival and exceed commercial offerings…

http://nightvisionforumuk.com/

NeutralFan
NeutralFan's picture
Offline
Last seen: 9 hours 13 min ago
Joined: 03/20/2014 - 19:22
Posts: 339
Location: Wisconsin, USA

I’m just so excited that everyone can see the pictures!

My main goal for a modification would be to change the tint to be more neutral, not for any more lumens. I’d be fine with less lumens as long as the tint was improved.

Is there a LED that would work with the current driver?

Would this one work: Nichia 219C D280 on 16mm Noctigon – 80+ CRI 5000K

Or would it not be compatible?

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

kramer5150
kramer5150's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 weeks 3 days ago
Joined: 05/19/2010 - 13:43
Posts: 1811
Location: Palo Alto CA

thats one of those ~1 watt emitters, so it probably sees ~350mah

You could try replacing it with a better emitter on a 16mm board. It will have no thermal path and no mass beyond the MCPCB though, and its anybodys guess how well the die sits relative to the focal point of that reflector. I don’t think todays cree emitters generate much heat at that current… let others correct me though. A more experienced member could probably tell you exactly what that driver does just by looking at it.

Rufusbduck
Rufusbduck's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 month 1 week ago
Joined: 04/04/2012 - 15:34
Posts: 10364
Location: Golden state

Looks like an old Souel P4 emitter so any 3V led should work. If you like the host then modding is worth the time, if you don’t like the host to begin with then don’t bother. Justin would go for it and solder up some copper bits into a new pill. Why not?

Three Tanna leaves to give him life, nine to give him movement. But what if he eats the whole bag?

Scott

NeutralFan
NeutralFan's picture
Offline
Last seen: 9 hours 13 min ago
Joined: 03/20/2014 - 19:22
Posts: 339
Location: Wisconsin, USA

Thanks everyone for your suggestions and info.

I’m leaning towards making this my first flashlight mod.

I will spend some time this weekend trying to figure out how to make a thermal path for the LED. Not that it’s really needed due to the low current, but just to see if I can. And I think I should be able to get the reflector to work with a shorter LED since the pill and reflector are press fit against the lens.

My only reservation so far is how well will the new Nichia 219C D280 on 16mm Noctigon – 80+ CRI 5000K work.

  • Will the lumens be adequate? I don’t want to end up with a flashlight that’s always in moonlight mode.

Any assurances that the new LED should be fine would be appreciated.

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

ohaya
Offline
Last seen: 2 days 11 hours ago
Joined: 03/16/2013 - 19:01
Posts: 5337
Location: US

Hi,

A lot of cheap lights are built/designed like the one you have, i.e., there is no real “pill” or at least no metal pill to hold the emitter board and the driver. Instead, probably because it is cheaper, they just use a plastic or rubber tube and shove the emitter board on one end and the (inevitably no-mode) driver board on the other end.

You can try to just replace the emitter board with a similarly sized emitter board with a desired emitter, and maybe glue it to the front of the plastic tube, but a better way is to get a piece of copper pipe (take the light tube with you to Home Depot or Lowes and try different sizes). I think that that there’s one size (1/2” – try before you buy) that will fit, diameter wise, then you can cut a length needed (you’ll need to do some measuring and maybe filing to get the length right), and glue (or just sit it on one end) the new emitter+emitter board to one end of the of the cut copper tube. Then get a driver (e.g., one of the Nanjgs that fit) and solder that to the other end of the copper pipe and now you have your “light engine”.

Then, it looks like the emitter board goes up against the reflector (make sure you insulate the contacts on the emitter board if the reflector is metallic) and put the rest of the light together.

Then you’ll have your first mod (and a MUCH better light :))!!

BTW, if you are going to mod all 5 lights, make sure you record the final length of the cut copper tube so you can replicate.

Jim

EDIT: Better yet (I forgot about this since it’s been awhile) is that Home Depot/Lowes has copper “caps” that I think can fit into a AA light. The “dome” or closed end of the caps are kind of rounded, so I had to sand /file them down to flat, but then the emitter board/MCPCB sits right on there. Then you drill holes on the top to let the emitter wires through and either glue or solder the driver to the other end.

EDIT 2: Here’s an old thread (there were several where I was going back and forth with q&a): http://budgetlightforum.com/node/28648.

NeutralFan
NeutralFan's picture
Offline
Last seen: 9 hours 13 min ago
Joined: 03/20/2014 - 19:22
Posts: 339
Location: Wisconsin, USA

Thanks for the info and advice ohaya. And I really appreciate you passing along that 3 year old thread! Looks very similar to what I need to do.

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

Rufusbduck
Rufusbduck's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 month 1 week ago
Joined: 04/04/2012 - 15:34
Posts: 10364
Location: Golden state

If all you do is change to a Nichia on a 16mm mcpcb then you’ll likely be quite pleased. If you change the pill to a modified copper pipe cap with an inexpensive boost driver using eneloops you would be thrilled. That same copper cap pill with a 105C driver using a 14500 will blow you away. At least for as long as the switch lasts. With most inexpensive lights the biggest issue is poor grounding from a poor mechanical connection and poor quality switches than melt at higher current.

Three Tanna leaves to give him life, nine to give him movement. But what if he eats the whole bag?

Scott

NeutralFan
NeutralFan's picture
Offline
Last seen: 9 hours 13 min ago
Joined: 03/20/2014 - 19:22
Posts: 339
Location: Wisconsin, USA

Perfect timing Rufusbduck! I was just about to order a new LED, and then decided to also order a boost driver for only $2 more AA / AAA Small Boost Drivers – Various Models & Modes . “Thrilled” sounds good to me.

I prefer to keep this an AA flashlight, especially given your warning about the tail switch. And also since my kids will probably use it too.

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

NeutralFan
NeutralFan's picture
Offline
Last seen: 9 hours 13 min ago
Joined: 03/20/2014 - 19:22
Posts: 339
Location: Wisconsin, USA

Here’s an update on my flashlight mod.

I feel a little silly having a post just for a cheapo flashlight mod, given the other post devoted to the awesome flashlight mods that occur daily here on BLF: What did you mod today?

But for those that are interested, thank you for letting me indulge in your time.

I have come up with a design that I think will work.

In regards to the thermal transfer, here’s my solution. It’s a brass nut that just barely fits into the flashlight head.


Once I modified the existing driver and used the existing LED, it’s very close in length to the original plastic pill.




There is enough room between the nut sides for the wires.

The 1 outstanding issue I had with this flashlight was with the retaining nut. It is thin, hard to put into place, and even harder to remove. Very frustrating to work with! So I went to my local hardware store for a replacement. They didn’t have anything even close and suggested that I contact the manufacturer of the flashlight. Very funny. It even broke while I was at the store since it was very brittle. Argh!
This was a deal breaker for me. If I’m not able to have a suitable retaining nut for the flashlight, it didn’t seem worth spending any more time modifying the flashlight, let alone spending any money on it.
Rather than just throwing flashlight into the garbage, here’s how I spent 2+ hours making a retaining nut.






Success! Much, much better than the original.
And, does the flashlight still work after all this?

Yes! Now I’m awaiting my new parts and will post an update once I’m done.

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

NeutralFan
NeutralFan's picture
Offline
Last seen: 9 hours 13 min ago
Joined: 03/20/2014 - 19:22
Posts: 339
Location: Wisconsin, USA

After some additional research here on BLF, I have tweaked my design from a “hollow” pill to a “solid” pill. I was able to get a ½ inch copper cap from my local farm and fleet store for $0.38 (JMF Copper Pipe Cap). It appears to be a better option since copper conducts heat better than brass and there will be more surface area next to the LED MCPCB.

Initially I thought the heavier brass nut would be better since it should be able to absorb more heat, but it seems it is more important to move heat faster away from the LED.

It will be more work since I’ll need to shorten the copper cap, drill holes for the LED wires, and create a way to support the driver for the positive terminal of the battery, but I think it will be worth it.

From left to right, the original plastic pill, brass nut (10.1 grams), and copper cap (6.0 grams, but probably around 5 grams after shortening).

I’m looking forward to getting the driver and LED from Mountain Electronics and putting everything together.

Any thoughts or suggestions are always welcome.

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

Pages