Convoy C8 Mod - The WOW Factor

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NeutralFan
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Convoy C8 Mod - The WOW Factor

I bought a Convoy C8 XP-L HI V2 1A with guppydrv firmware from Mountain Electronics. I also bought a 42mm anti-reflective (AR) coated lens. Swapping out the stock lens with the AR lens was a very simple mod.

Overall the flashlight is a great value. It has great throw and I really liked all the modes (22 total) that came with the guppydrv. But I felt it was a little underpowered compared to the other flashlights I have. My family thought it was pretty cool since it throws really far for such a small flashlight, but it did not have the WOW factor that some of my other flashlights have (such as the Noctigon Meteor M43).

So I got the mod bug again and bought some cool parts from Mountain Electronics:

17mm FET + 7135 driver (MTN-17DDm)
- Bistro firmware (attiny25)
- Battery check
- Moonlight mode
- Temperature regulation
- Low voltage cutoff

20mm CREE XP-L HI V3 3C on Noctigon (metal core printed circuit board) MCPCB
- Neutral white tint
- Direct thermal path (DTP) LED

22 American Wire Gauge (AWG) silicone wire

I ordered the 17DDm driver with the spring and wires installed. The positive wire is soldered to the top of the spring and will be connected directly to the LED MCPCB – nice design.

Rationale for these parts – The stock LED does not have a DTP to the MCPCB. With the increased current from the new driver, the LED would heat up too much and eventually fail. An LED with a DTP MCPCB is needed to help dissipate the heat. The tail spring also needs to be bypassed (hence the 22 AWG wire) in order to support the increased current. The spring alone would have too much resistance and not allow the current to get to the driver.

A new switch is not needed since the switch that comes with a Convoy C8 is a quality Omten switch which can handle the increased current.

First, I had to take the flashlight apart. The bezel is easily unscrewed. The driver and tail switch are held in place with retainer rings. I tried with toothpicks and other items to loosen them, but they did not budge. My needle nose pliers was too big to fit into the divots on the retainer rings, so I filed down the ends to make them smaller. Then I was able to use the pliers to loosen them. They were on very, very tight! The driver retainer ring was loosed with the normal counter-clockwise motion, but the tail switch loosened clockwise.

I de-soldered the wires on the LED MCPCB and removed the driver.

I took out the 2 screws holding the LED MCPCB in place and pulled it out. Then I removed the remaining thermal compound using a cloth and isopropyl alcohol. This Convoy C8 comes with an integrated LED shelf.

I “tinned” the new LED MCPCB by putting some solder onto the solder pads.

After doing some research on applying thermal compound, I put some thermal compound on the shelf, spread it around with a flat plastic tool, and removed the excess with a lint free cloth. I applied a thin layer of thermal compound on the back of the LED MCPCB with the same plastic tool. I pressed the MCPCB onto the flashlight shelf and slightly twisted it back and forth a couple times. I then screwed the MCPCB securely to the shelf.

I pushed the driver wires through the holes in the shelf and soldered them to the LED MCPCB. I filed the excess off the sides of the driver PCB in order to fit it into the flashlight head. I rotated the driver a little as I put it back into the flashlight head and screwed the retainer ring back on. Rotating the driver allows the spring wire to more easily flex when the battery is placed into the flashlight.

I put the reflector spacer, reflector, and AR lens back into the flashlight head and tightened the bezel back on.

Now to the switch and spring assembly. I cut a small piece of 22 AWG wire, stripped both ends, and soldered 1 end next to the bottom of the spring onto the switch PCB positive contact. Then twisted the wire a little and soldered the other end to the top of the spring. I made sure there was a little extra length in the wire to be able to flex within the spring. I put extra solder on top of the spring to provide good contact with the battery.

I then put the switch and spring assembly back into the flashlight tail and screwed the retainer ring back on by rotating it counter clockwise.

Overall a pretty straightforward and not that difficult of a mod due to the high quality of the Convoy C8 flashlight.

Here is a neat moonlight mode picture.

To demonstrate the intensity of the modified Convoy C8, left is the Meteor M43 with Nichia 219C on turbo at 6,000+ lumens, right is the modified C8 creeping into the middle, both at 3 feet.

Here are some outside beamshots.

I am very happy with how the flashlight turned out and as my family can attest, it now has the WOW factor.

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

giorgoskok
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It’s a hot rod C8 now.

Congrats

freeme
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Classic C8 mod. cool

firedome
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Really nice C8 mod! Big Smile

“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.

-Plato

Yokiamy
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Very nice mod, and thanks for putting the time and effort in the pictures!
I am always happy as a kid when stuff arrives, and usually forget to take all the detailed pictures.
These pics really help a lot, since i wanted to mod my C8 as well, but started out modding S2+‘s first Wink
I have upgraded my C8 to the SMO reflector AR glass and dedomed my XML2-U2 1A, but found the beam quite ringy, so installed the OP reflector again, which smoothes out the beam.
Still a nice noctigon with XPL-HI, wire upgrade and spring bypass are still on the wishlist…

MRsDNF
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Thanks for the descriptive mod. this should come in handy for anyone getting into modding. Thumbs Up

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.

 

ZFL-M60
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where did you catch the 22 AWG wire from ?.
thanks..

Custom Modded Matte Black S2+ Triple Nichia 219b 4500k D220 9080 hcri, with Hoop heat sync, h17f, noctigan, 24 AWG wire, omten switch, brown #016 viton o rings, carlco 10507, ‘Strong Lights’ LEO Blue/Green Glow Gasket powered by Sony 3500 vtc6’s!.
Custom Modded Reylight Cu Tool Nichia 219b 4000k D220 9080 with Foursevens Preon 2 clip powered by GP Recyko 1000’s!.
Custom Modded C8 ( 8 × 7135 chips ), Cree 5600k, AR Lens, powered by Sony 2600 vtc5’s!.
Custom modded Photon Micro with Yuji LED 5600 LED powered by Duracell ultra 2032’s.

luminarium iaculator
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Very neat and tidy which only tells that you are pro in this business Thumbs Up

sp5it
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ZFL-M60 wrote:
where did you catch the 22 AWG wire from ?.
thanks..

Fasttech got plenty of those.
Mike

 

Sledgestone
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Did you measure the Lux after the mod?

Jerommel
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Looking for:

5” parabolic reflector (for recoil light)

(I’ll be back around the 28th)

NeutralFan
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ZFL-M60 wrote:
where did you catch the 22 AWG wire from ?. thanks..

I got all my parts from Mountain Electronics. This was the first time I used silicone wire and it was really easy to work with since its so flexible.

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

NeutralFan
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Sledgestone wrote:
Did you measure the Lux after the mod?

Sorry, but I don’t have the equipment to do that. Maybe some day. I’d also like to get a clamp meter to measure the current.

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

NeutralFan
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Yokiamy wrote:
Very nice mod, and thanks for putting the time and effort in the pictures! I am always happy as a kid when stuff arrives, and usually forget to take all the detailed pictures. These pics really help a lot, since i wanted to mod my C8 as well,

You are welcome. I’ve learned so much here on BLF so I’m glad I can help others.

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

ImA4Wheelr
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First class build.  You changed the stuff that matters and kept the stuff that didn't need to be changed.  As stated above, this thread is gold for aspiring modders.  More than that though, your attention to detail manifested in an excellent result.  The amazing pictures clearly reflect that level of attention.  Congrats!

". . . You realize that wasn't really a loss for me in Africa — it was a gain that I didn't appreciate."

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Edness
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Very nice! I have a clear version in transit from china. I was going to go the same route…same LED and driver. But the clear version with XP-L HI U6 3A has a DTP board and AR lens. I’m hoping I’ll like the tint as I’m a huge fan of the V3 3C tint. Since I have a spare BLF A6 FET driver, I’ll just pop that in. Perfect budget thrower!

NeutralFan
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ImA4Wheelr wrote:

First class build.  You changed the stuff that matters and kept the stuff that didn’t need to be changed.  As stated above, this thread is gold for aspiring modders.  More than that though, your attention to detail manifested in an excellent result.  The amazing pictures clearly reflect that level of attention.  Congrats!

Thank you ImA4Wheelr, I really appreciate your kind and thoughtful comments.

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

Speed4goal
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Congrats on the build now you’ll be building more and more and end up with a c8/x6 army.

Try a dedomed xpg2 s4 2b from mtn on your next one. Even the new style xpg will still get you about 165k lux. About 800 yards of throw I believe. Mine with a dedomed xml2 u4 1a has 700 yards of throw.

SoCalTiger
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This is a great post and thank you for all the detailed pictures!

CRX
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Very Nice Thumbs Up

SoCalTiger
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OMG you’re right about the retaining ring being on there TIGHT. I just tried to remove the ring on the head and quickly bent a cheap awl in the process. I guess a driver swap is going to be a little harder than I thought lol

Lightbringer
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Speed4goal wrote:
Try a dedomed xpg2 s4 2b from mtn on your next one.

Will the 2B end up being too warm? I just got some 1As for dedoming, figuring it’d end up as a 3*.

09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0

Lightbringer
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SoCalTiger wrote:
OMG you’re right about the retaining ring being on there TIGHT. I just tried to remove the ring on the head and quickly bent a cheap awl in the process. I guess a driver swap is going to be a little harder than I thought lol

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000NPR2P8/

Works a treat…

Had a small issue with them (not a flaw), Tekton went well above and beyond to make it right. Inspiring, ended up getting more stuff from them as a result.

09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0

NeutralFan
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My homemade snap ring pliers cost $1.99 from Harbor Freight and also fits (just barely) my Supfire M6 retainer ring that is about 42mm wide. I like how the filed down ends fit snuggly in the divots/holes so they do not slip or mare the retainer rings.

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

KawiBoy1428
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I might have missed it in your detailed process description and related pictures, but did you check the integrated shelf for flatness?

I normally stone/lap the shelf flat and the mcpcb, then check contact to each other, better contact, better thermal transmission Wink

KB1428 “Live Life WOT”

PBWilson
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Being new to modding flashlights, your thread is a big help for me to see how things fit together. What’s next?

Thom2022
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Nice write up. Great detail and good photos.
If later down the line you want some extra wow then drop in a dedomed/sliced XPG2/XPG3.
The G2 will require a regulated driver (qlite is a good option) whereas the G3 should be able to handle short bursts of direct drive if well heatsinked and will be able to put out ~900 OTF lumens but being a smaller die it will out throw any XML or XPL.

Just an idiot with a soldering iron.

AdrianWA
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Is this the same driver with new C8 ghost?

I want to try and build myself. I was planning to get the Convoy C8 host from BG. Cheers
NeutralFan
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KawiBoy1428 wrote:
I might have missed it in your detailed process description and related pictures, but did you check the integrated shelf for flatness?

There was some machining marks including a dimple in the middle, but overall the shelf seemed pretty flat. I didn’t notice any unevenness between the LED MCPCB and the shelf.

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

NeutralFan
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PBWilson wrote:
Being new to modding flashlights, your thread is a big help for me to see how things fit together. What’s next?

I have parts coming to make a JAXMAN E2L Triple LED flashlight. I’m looking forward to see how it all comes together.

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

NeutralFan
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AdrianWA wrote:

Is this the same driver with new C8 ghost?

I want to try and build myself. I was planning to get the Convoy C8 host from BG. Cheers

You will need to buy a 17mm driver and a 20mm MCPCB LED in addition to the host.

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

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