What are the inherit dangers of modding?

31 posts / 0 new
Last post
trailhunter
Offline
Last seen: 6 hours 20 min ago
Joined: 12/23/2015 - 17:56
Posts: 143
Location: ca
What are the inherit dangers of modding?

While I was resoldering, I didn’t solder the wires as flush to the mcpcb. While screwing the bezel down, it was enough for the bezel to touch the solder from the positive wire. This caused a short and the light started flickering. Fortunately, I had a protected cell.

What are some safety hazards for the new and experienced modders should be cognizant of? This includes safety of tools, environmental etc (inhaling solder smoke etc etc)

EyeballFryer
Offline
Last seen: 1 day 3 hours ago
Joined: 11/30/2015 - 02:17
Posts: 415
Location: California, USA

I know you asked about “safety” hazards, but I ended up thinking about all of my modding screwups I can remember.

For personal dangers:

  • Burning yourself on the soldering iron or heat gun/hot air station.
  • If you’re trying to pry loose a bezel or stuck reflect, you could accidentally jab yourself.

For the equipment dangers:

  • Short circuiting the battery.
  • Electrically frying the LED due to a short circuit.
  • Electrically frying a 3mm LED because it accidentally touched the normal LED wire, which sent too much voltage through the 3mm LED.
  • Physically damaging the LED – hot air workstation melted and cracked a Luxeon Rebel LED dome (the LED actually still worked).
  • Accidentally desoldering another electronic component on the driver.
  • Accidentally jabbing too hard and knocking another electronic component off a driver.
  • Melting, warping plastic – that happened when I put a whole pill into a toaster oven, trying to heat and melt the solder, and I didn’t know there was a plastic cap on the bottom side of the pill.
  • Breaking or bending tweezers.
  • Burning the MCPCB – I put a Nitecore TIP MCPCB into a toaster oven, set it the temperature too high trying to melt the solder, and the MCPCB started growing black burnt balls of ash or whatever that was.
  • Warping the round shape of a bezel due to tightening the vice too hard.
  • Scratching the lens or reflector.
  • Also shattering the lens due to tightening the vice too hard around the bezel, then unscrewing the bezel.
  • Exterior damage trying to unscrew a thread-locked bezel due to strong gripping vices.
  • Jamming the reflector trying to screw it back in. At the end of LED modding a Nitecore EC4GT, I was using only my hands to screw the reflector back on. Halfway down, it jammed. And it jammed so badly, I couldn’t unscrew it with my hands, strap wrenches, nor vices. I have no idea what happened, but it ruined the whole mod. Maybe I cross threaded or there was some gunk in the threads that jammed.
  • Ruining a magnet. Magnets don’t like heat from a soldering iron.
  • Compressing springs – Nitecore EA45S. Actually, I’m not sure if this was caused by modding, but this happened after a mod. I was told that a spring might have compressed due to a short circuit. I don’t know if I put the batteries in backwards or mixed the polarities or what. I worked around this by folding up some aluminum foil and put them on top of the batteries to make up for the shortened springs.

trailhunter
Offline
Last seen: 6 hours 20 min ago
Joined: 12/23/2015 - 17:56
Posts: 143
Location: ca

I really liked bullet point one. I did actually burn my forearm with the soldering iron, the flashlight was unstable and I tried to grab it so it wouldn’t fall. Well, as I tried to grab it, the soldering iron rested on my arm and burned the shit out of me. I have about a 1 inch long white indentation and red around it. Burned skin smells bad.

gchart
gchart's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 hours 38 min ago
Joined: 03/19/2016 - 11:57
Posts: 1594
Location: Central IL

I’ll add:

  • Jacking things up, not realizing that something (bezel, retaining ring, or the like) is reverse threaded
  • Replacing a current-set resistor with too low of one, running the amps higher than it was designed to do, and frying the whole driver
  • While testing, letting a lead from a power source come loose and shorting out, with the quick zap ruining sensitive components
  • Not having an optic (TIR lens) in just the right spot, sheering off the LED domes
  • Slipping and hitting an LED dome with a soldering iron (just did that to a 90-CRI LH351D, oops)
  • Trying a lithium in a flashlight only made for AA/AAA (sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t, as djozz just showed today with his C01S)
  • Dedoming or shaving an LED and ripping off a bond wire

I’m sure there’s so much more that I’ve learned the hard way while modding, but that’s a good start!

Firelight2
Firelight2's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 hour 30 min ago
Joined: 04/08/2011 - 15:17
Posts: 3448
Location: California

One suggestion: When you order parts for modding always order spares.

Nothing like having a fun night of modding planned, messing up, and then realizing you have to put the whole thing on hold for another 6 weeks while you wait for replacement parts to arrive.

Boaz
Boaz's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 hours 58 min ago
Joined: 11/07/2010 - 09:31
Posts: 6986
Location: Birthplace of Aviation

The greatest danger to modding  is making a light so good you have no need to buy more lights.

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

                                  https://www.gty.org/

 

    Still selling diffuser film  >…  http://budgetlightforum.com/node/42208

hank
hank's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 hours 39 min ago
Joined: 09/04/2011 - 21:52
Posts: 8023
Location: Berkeley, California

Having a growing accumulation of drivers and other parts that you bought for a good reason you no longer find interesting and can’t identify well enough to give away.

moderator007
moderator007's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 hours 38 min ago
Joined: 12/23/2012 - 04:47
Posts: 2886
Location: North Carolina

Firelight2 wrote:
One suggestion: When you order parts for modding always order spares.

Nothing like having a fun night of modding planned, messing up, and then realizing you have to put the whole thing on hold for another 6 weeks while you wait for replacement parts to arrive.


Oh yeah, guilty of this myself. I never order just one of any modding parts anymore. By the time the replacements get here, I forget what it was I was planning on doing and usually have just moved on to the next mod. Certain things I buy more than enough just encase I need them modding something else, then I can mod the light right then instead of waiting 3 weeks. It feels like I’m running a auto parts store where you have to keep the most popular parts in stock instead of everything being a special order.
djozz
djozz's picture
Online
Last seen: 13 min 41 sec ago
Joined: 09/07/2012 - 17:04
Posts: 15108
Location: Amsterdam

A great danger of modding is that over time you buy a lot of expensive equipment for that, in my case surpassing the combined value of my flashlights. Money that of course should have been spent on flashlights. Sad

CRX
CRX's picture
Offline
Last seen: 52 min 42 sec ago
Joined: 04/02/2013 - 15:27
Posts: 3621
Location: Scotland

Addiction.

Henk4U2
Henk4U2's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 hour 17 min ago
Joined: 02/13/2014 - 17:52
Posts: 2607
Location: The heart of the Netherlands (GMT+1)

In case something has broken down: there is nothing wrong with rebuilding it better than it was ever before.
In all other cases: if it works, don’t fix it. Facepalm

It can get highly addictive. With a financial collateral damage that exceeds the worth of the benefits.

If you choose to disobey these laws of nature: always wear protection. Like (safety) glasses.

You are a flashaholic if you are forced to come out of the closet, to make room for more flashlights.

acab
acab's picture
Online
Last seen: 3 sec ago
Joined: 05/29/2019 - 16:30
Posts: 91
  • solder that “pops” and jumps in your face, always wear eye protection
  • solder fumes
  • not wearing gloves (lead, flux, all the chemical coatings, cleaning agents,..)
  • burnt myself many times while soldering or using hot air

And, as mentioned before, I have accumulated a huge load of equipment I barely use except for modding every other month. Approximate number of drivers: 21 – all unused and/or not working.

Literally 50 bags with parts that came through the years. hundreds of resistors, capacitors, cables, wires, optics, and even unused hosts.

The way I managed my mods was very wasteful and I hope to remedy that somehow. Also lost my interest in modding lights or even collecting them. After you have done all the mods you wanted to do, what else is out there? I have 600$ in unused lights in boxes (good lights, but most of them not “modern” lights; solarforce, older skyray kings, lots of convoys and thorfire)

Eleziel
Offline
Last seen: 10 hours 14 min ago
Joined: 12/23/2017 - 17:50
Posts: 111
Location: Netherlands

acab wrote:
* solder that “pops” and jumps in your face, always wear eye protection
  • solder fumes
  • not wearing gloves (lead, flux, all the chemical coatings, cleaning agents,..)
  • burnt myself many times while soldering or using hot air

And, as mentioned before, I have accumulated a huge load of equipment I barely use except for modding every other month. Approximate number of drivers: 21 – all unused and/or not working.

Literally 50 bags with parts that came through the years. hundreds of resistors, capacitors, cables, wires, optics, and even unused hosts.

The way I managed my mods was very wasteful and I hope to remedy that somehow. Also lost my interest in modding lights or even collecting them. After you have done all the mods you wanted to do, what else is out there? I have 600$ in unused lights in boxes (good lights, but most of them not “modern” lights; solarforce, older skyray kings, lots of convoys and thorfire)

Never had solder “jump”, isn’t it the flux at a too high temperature?

As for the dangers not related to tool use… i think the main one is making a short with the reflector. sometimes even with a centering ring the joints are too fast and touch the reflector.

MascaratumB
MascaratumB's picture
Offline
Last seen: 53 min 24 sec ago
Joined: 10/29/2016 - 12:12
Posts: 3490
Location: Portugal

I would say, damaging a flashlight Sad
Yesterday I was attempting at modding my Olight S1R Baton I with a LED swap and ended up damaging something, as now the Moonlight mode doesn’t work properly. Other lights, drivers, leds and switches have been damaged along the way.

BUT, as some have already mentioned, spending money and getting addicted is the worse evil you’ll find existing when you have been bitten the “modding” vampire Big Smile

REVIEWS: AMUTORCH: S3 / S3 vs 219c / AM30 / AX1 / VG10 /// SOFIRN: SF14 & SP10A / SP32A / SP10B /// NITEFOX: UT20 / ES10K / K3 /// ODEPRO: KL52 / B108 /// ACEBEAM: H20 /// BLITZWOLF: BlitzWolf BW-ET1 /// DQG: AA Slim Ti /// HC-LIGHTS: SS AAA /// XTAR: PB2 Charger /// OLIGHT: M2R Warrior /// WUBEN: TO10R / E05 / T70 /// ON THE ROAD: M1 / i3 / M3 Pro /// ROVYVON: A2 & A5R / E300S / A8 /// KLARUS: XT1C 

Tricks: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8  TIR Lenses: 1 / 2   Others: Biscotti 3 & 1*7135     Triple TIR & XP-G2

GIVEAWAY - 1

acab
acab's picture
Online
Last seen: 3 sec ago
Joined: 05/29/2019 - 16:30
Posts: 91
Eleziel wrote:
Never had solder “jump”, isn’t it the flux at a too high temperature?

I don’t know how it happened, maybe someone else can pitch in. The LED wire came off of the solder joint on a copper dtp board while soldering and I heard a “pop” sound before very hot solder splatter was all over my face. Just happy I wore goggles.

Because the parts are so small, our faces are very close to the soldering action.

Henk4U2
Henk4U2's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 hour 17 min ago
Joined: 02/13/2014 - 17:52
Posts: 2607
Location: The heart of the Netherlands (GMT+1)
acab wrote:
.. Because the parts are so small, our faces are very close to the soldering action.

With age come (a few) advantages. I have to use a desk light with a 4” magnifying glass Wink
So my eyes are well protected. And the rest…… Does not matter any more. Did I say age?

You are a flashaholic if you are forced to come out of the closet, to make room for more flashlights.

trailhunter
Offline
Last seen: 6 hours 20 min ago
Joined: 12/23/2015 - 17:56
Posts: 143
Location: ca

Firelight2 wrote:
One suggestion: When you order parts for modding always order spares.

Nothing like having a fun night of modding planned, messing up, and then realizing you have to put the whole thing on hold for another 6 weeks while you wait for replacement parts to arrive.

So true, and parts are relatively cheap. This is a hidden safety hazard as you’ll likely punch a wall for having to wait

Scallywag
Scallywag's picture
Offline
Last seen: 9 hours 56 min ago
Joined: 01/11/2018 - 22:23
Posts: 350
Location: Ohio, United States

Haha, I have a rule when using a soldering iron or a knife, that I don't do anything else while I'm holding the iron or knife. For the iron, that means if I drop something, I put the iron in its stand before I grab what I dropped. For a knife, that means I fold it or put it somewhere safe (for example, not somewhere it will be bumped off and fall on my foot) if it's not a folding knife. 

I know I would burn myself or something else important if I got distracted while holding the iron.

EDC Rotation: ZL SC62 | Jaxman E2L XP-G2 5A | Purple S2+ XPL-HI U6-3A | D4 w/ Luxeon V
"Back-Ups": EagTac D25C Ti | Olight S1 | Klarus Mini One Ti
L6 XHP70.2 P2 4000K FET+7135 | Jaxman M8 | MF02 | Blue S2+ w/ ML Special
In-progress: Supfire M6 3xXHP50.2 | Jaxman Z1 White Flat
Others: Nitecore EC23 | Nebo Twyst | Streamlight ProTac 1AA | TerraLux LightStar 100

power911
power911's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 day 2 hours ago
Joined: 05/12/2014 - 02:14
Posts: 790
Location: Malaysia

Modding opens the potential of:
-my flashlight burning my pockets
-people who used my light will drop my light due to it being too hot.
-people leave my hot lights on because they didn’t know / too scared to hold a hot light
-inviting more people to turn on the light while pointing at themselves to test power (I still don’t get why people try that every single time)

For personal danger, I couldn’t think of any other than shorting the battery due to my incorrect installation/solder
Usually the dangers are affecting people who used my lights irresponsibly

“Have you forgotten about all those who called you a Bringer of Woe and hunted you like an animal?”
“Normal humans don’t go around killing people and burning towns!”
“Don’t worry. I’ll go with you! So you just follow me and no arguing, okay?”
“Humans m

teacher
teacher's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 hour 6 min ago
Joined: 02/23/2016 - 19:04
Posts: 9009
Location: NE & SW Alabama

For me, as has already been said by others;

  • Addiction
  • Aquiring more “spare” parts than could be used in two lifetime’s
  • Spending far to much money in the process

Same with guns, ammo, knives, & fishing equipment. Facepalm

Cash
Cash

You never know how a horse will pull until you hook him up to a heavy load./"Bear" Bryant 

 .................................. "Slow is Smooth, Smooth is Fast" ...................................

       Texas Lumens Flashlights / M4D M4X Deals : sign up - save $$$$  

         Rudeness Level _ mΩ _ {width:70%} _ LightWiki _ LED Tint Chart  

      Xlamp size chart _ BatteryU _ Flashaholic? Need Professional Help???            TheOriginal _ TAB _ LightSearch _ BatterySearch _ 14500's _ DiCal 

 

                                             

trailhunter
Offline
Last seen: 6 hours 20 min ago
Joined: 12/23/2015 - 17:56
Posts: 143
Location: ca

The most likely danger is creating a short. Does this imply that the battery can explode, catch fire etc? I shorted a protected cell and all I saw was flickering and sudden shut off but would that have been as graceful ifni were to have shorted a unprotected cell?

Eleziel
Offline
Last seen: 10 hours 14 min ago
Joined: 12/23/2017 - 17:50
Posts: 111
Location: Netherlands

trailhunter wrote:
The most likely danger is creating a short. Does this imply that the battery can explode, catch fire etc? I shorted a protected cell and all I saw was flickering and sudden shut off but would that have been as graceful ifni were to have shorted a unprotected cell?

Guess that just depends on how long you short it.

When i test a light after modding i do it by bridging the tube and negative end with something so that if i see it’s not turning on i can instantly cut power.

Can obviously use a voltmeter and test for continuity as well… but i’m lazy.

The one samsung 30q that i shorted a bunch of times for maybe a second every time is still fine.

wle
wle's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 days 14 hours ago
Joined: 01/07/2015 - 13:49
Posts: 1167
Location: atlanta ga

Burning up stuff, including pants
Spending on equipment and parts
Wasting time on it
Spending hundreds of hours and not ending up with anything much better than you could have just bought Smile

(i’m not a modder, though i am an electrical engineer, just not interested so far)

wle

BabyDoc
Offline
Last seen: 2 days 10 hours ago
Joined: 05/29/2019 - 09:37
Posts: 16
Location: Beachwood, Ohio

I find this thread rather enlightening but also frightening to someone like myself who would love to try modding lights, but doesn’t know where to begin or where to get the info to begin. I often thought about starting a thread for novices like myself, but after reading this thread, it would seem that if you don’t know what you are doing it would safer to get started.

trailhunter
Offline
Last seen: 6 hours 20 min ago
Joined: 12/23/2015 - 17:56
Posts: 143
Location: ca
BabyDoc wrote:
I find this thread rather enlightening but also frightening to someone like myself who would love to try modding lights, but doesn’t know where to begin or where to get the info to begin. I often thought about starting a thread for novices like myself, but after reading this thread, it would seem that if you don’t know what you are doing it would safer to get started.

I just started modding a few days ago. When i realized the hidden dangers, I thought this would be a good forum to document what others experience so when you dive in, take all this stuff into consideration.

For example, a hidden danger on he convoy is shorting the battery as you put the reflector in. If your solder is a bit high, you run the risk of the solder touching the reflector. This is hidden and wouldn’t have been on any newcomers mind.

No one has mentioned any hidden dangers like overdrawing a battery that’s not designed for your setup. Not sure what the danger is there but I cant imagine it’s a good thing.

DavidEF
DavidEF's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 hours 23 sec ago
Joined: 06/05/2014 - 06:00
Posts: 7086
Location: Salisbury, North Carolina, USA

CRX wrote:
Addiction.
HaHa! Yep! Party

The Cycle of Goodness: “No one prospers without rendering benefit to others”
- The YKK Philosophy

chops728
Offline
Last seen: 9 hours 8 min ago
Joined: 08/30/2014 - 16:00
Posts: 842
Location: Swampland,La

teacher wrote:
For me, as has already been said by others;
  • Addiction
  • Aquiring more “spare” parts than could be used in two lifetime’s
  • Spending far to much money in the process

Same with guns, ammo, knives, & fishing equipment. Facepalm

Cash
Cash

This is for you BUDDY ———- 1-800— HELPFAST—- Sounds like you need an INTERVENTION

teacher
teacher's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 hour 6 min ago
Joined: 02/23/2016 - 19:04
Posts: 9009
Location: NE & SW Alabama

chops728 wrote:
teacher wrote:
For me, as has already been said by others;
  • Addiction
  • Aquiring more “spare” parts than could be used in two lifetime’s
  • Spending far to much money in the process

Same with guns, ammo, knives, & fishing equipment. Facepalm

Cash
Cash

This is for you BUDDY ———- 1-800— HELPFAST—- Sounds like you need an INTERVENTION
Thanks my friend. That came in the nick of time. Thumbs Up

I called & talked a couple of hours with them. They said I sounded like a hoarder too possibly. Imagine that….. Big Smile
Asked if I be interested in a possible TV series they are about to do on the subject. I told them sure… they could probably devote at least a complete season between here & Orange Beach of me dealing with my ‘stuff’.

Could be turning lemons into lemonade if it plays out…. Wink

You never know how a horse will pull until you hook him up to a heavy load./"Bear" Bryant 

 .................................. "Slow is Smooth, Smooth is Fast" ...................................

       Texas Lumens Flashlights / M4D M4X Deals : sign up - save $$$$  

         Rudeness Level _ mΩ _ {width:70%} _ LightWiki _ LED Tint Chart  

      Xlamp size chart _ BatteryU _ Flashaholic? Need Professional Help???            TheOriginal _ TAB _ LightSearch _ BatterySearch _ 14500's _ DiCal 

 

                                             

Firelight2
Firelight2's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 hour 30 min ago
Joined: 04/08/2011 - 15:17
Posts: 3448
Location: California

CRX wrote:
Addiction.
Yeah this sounds about right.

And then you find yourself spending your time here on this forum when you should be working. Silly

contactcr
Offline
Last seen: 5 hours 57 min ago
Joined: 05/19/2017 - 18:52
Posts: 1829
Location: US

I’ve done the majority of the ones mentioned, plus:

  • Cracked lenses cause I think I can balance them upright on reflector while unscrewing bezel
  • Metal shavings in thumb/hands from filing/sanding. You know, the kind too small to remove but annoying enough to cause bumps.
  • E-switch wires are the devil sometimes
  • Losing sleep trying to finish a mod at 1 or 2AM and going to bed defeated because one of the above 100 things happened
  • Stripping retaining ring threads beyond repair
  • Ruin a $15 tool trying to open an $8 light
trailhunter
Offline
Last seen: 6 hours 20 min ago
Joined: 12/23/2015 - 17:56
Posts: 143
Location: ca

contactcr wrote:
I’ve done the majority of the ones mentioned, plus:
  • Cracked lenses cause I think I can balance them upright on reflector while unscrewing bezel
  • Metal shavings in thumb/hands from filing/sanding. You know, the kind too small to remove but annoying enough to cause bumps.
  • E-switch wires are the devil sometimes
  • Losing sleep trying to finish a mod at 1 or 2AM and going to bed defeated because one of the above 100 things happened
  • Stripping retaining ring threads beyond repair
  • Ruin a $15 tool trying to open an $8 light

All are so brutal. Here I am at 12am scared about inserting a vtca5 into a just built c8 with an xhp50.2. I need some electrical tape so I can put behind the reflector.