My first dive in to light modification (hardware and firmware)

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kamots
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My first dive in to light modification (hardware and firmware)

This is continuing a conversation that started here: http://budgetlightforum.com/comment/1626574#comment-1626574

TLDR – I want to modify my Lumintop Tool AA 2.0 as practice for eventually trying to modify my Surefire T1A. Never done any flashlight modifications before but I do have experience with electronics including surface mount work using a hot air station.

So the following is in reply to this: http://budgetlightforum.com/comment/1626761#comment-1626761

@jon_slider: Thanks for the pictures, that was helpful. Smile I’m sure I am rehashing some conversation that happened somewhere on this forum. But hey, maybe this will help others that are new like me. I will be using your advice and looking at my lights during the day. I find this really interesting. It is a lot more in-depth then I ever thought.

The last time I looked in to emitters (years ago!) I was thinking about modifying my T1A since I really didn’t like its blue tint from the day I got it. But I really liked the UI so I kept it and used it a lot over the years.

Looking at your pictures (in the other thread) I like the 5000K 219c and the 4300K 351d. The 6500K one looks like my T1A, so blue. The XR2 that I reviewed is maybe 6000K based on those pictures and my recent experience with a new D4V2 SST-20 5000K. I read several comments about the SST-20 having various problems with tint and different colors at dim levels. I haven’t seen any of this with my new light so maybe I just got lucky or I haven’t development my tint snob pallet yet Silly I do kinda see the pink in your pictures, but then again that may just be my brain looking for pink and seeing what it was told would be there.

BUT the really exciting part for me about what I’ve learned since I joined this forum is open source lights! That is the reason I got the D4V2. It looked like the most modern, yet affordable, light that uses the 18650 batteries I already bought for my XR2. Most important, it has the programming pads easily accessible so I can start to tinker without taking it apart. I’ve taken a lot of stuff apart ever since I was a kid but now in my old age (heh) I like to learn more before I rip things apart. I don’t think I know enough about high drain Lithium batteries and the advanced drivers in these lights to be screwing around with them. So I keep reading old posts here and asking questions.

Is there a place that sells emitters that have been CRI tested and are known to not have nasty green/orange/whatever color shifting? As I said I think 5000K is my preference based on what I know so far. 4000K seems to pink/orange to me.

Edited by: kamots on 02/14/2020 - 12:48
jon_slider
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> Looking at your picture… I like the … 4300K 351d.

it is understandable that you would like the images with the closest to white looking tint.. however, everything is relative to the white balance..

that same lh351d looks yellow instead of white, in this next photo

This thread may help you with white balance info
http://budgetlightforum.com/node/67829

this thread has more examples of how pink my sw45k can look in a photo, when seen from the perspective of daylight white (5600k)
http://budgetlightforum.com/node/66975

that same sw45k looks blue compared to incandescent white balance (3000k):

===
here a strategy that has helped me learn more about the effect of my brain’s white balance, on my perception of color temperature and tint of a single flashlight:

I shine it on my wall and ceiling, during the day. My sw45k looks pink at that time.

I then shine the same light at night, after I have been sitting under incandescent light, for at least one hour, so my brain can downregulate its white balance reference. My sw45k looks blueish at that time.
===

I prefer to use 3500k lights, at night, when Im adapted to incandescent.
I prefer to use 5000k+ lights, during the day. (but they are hard to come by in High CRI without green tint.)

.

further research on tint
the D55 reference has a tint of .0033 relative to the incandescent BBL
iow, sunlight is greener than incandescent

imo
people that work in the sun, and in brightly lit areas during the day, and need to use a flashlight when entering dark or shaded places, will prefer a light with greener tint and cooler cct (5600k w green tint)

people who use a light to relax, camping, etc, will prefer less green tint and warmer cct (3000k w tint below the bbl)

.

note about the word neutral.. it has a confusing double meaning
especially when the word tint is misused to mean color temperature

neutral tint means on the BBL, at all color temperatures
neutral white means 4-5000k color temperature, and can have tint that is above or below the BBL (opinions differ on the cutoff values for neutral white)

so a light with neutral tint, can be cool white, or warm white, or neutral white

.

in your case, I suggest you focus on trying some lights with 4000k 219c, and LH351d 5000k.
another LED you may like is the 5700k 219c.

myself, I avoid 219c, and strongly prefer 219b.
I find 219c green, from the perspective of my incandescent home life.
otoh that green tint starts to disappaer, from the perspective of my daylight adapted brain

and btw, I definitely avoid low cri neutral white, it is terribly yellow, with no Red CRI, the light on the right in this pic is an xpl, on the left my sw45k

a note about photos
they are only good for comparing beams side by side, and they dont see the same exact colors my brain does

a note about pink
when I say pink tint, in an sw45k, I mean very pink, more than most other LEDs,
yet still, my brain will white balance to it, and it will “look” white, at night.

did you know pink calms me down? lol

sac02
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How in depth do you want to get? lol

Take this all with a grain of salt, maukka or one of the other color experts are better versed in this.

This is a chromaticity chart seen a lot when talking LED tints. The line down the middle is the BBL, black body locus, think of it as “no tint” or no color deviation from white light.

When an LED manufacturer makes LEDs, they aren’t all the exact same. Some vary in tint, some very in output. So manufacturers bin their emitters based on output and tint. Sometimes the LED bin is sorted and sold as a particular bin – if you buy an entire reel of emitters, or if you buy from someone (an enthusiast vendor) who knows/cares/advertises this info you might know you are getting emitters of 5000k CCT, with “U6” output, and “3B” tint. When you buy a prebuilt light you may get to choose varying LED options based on CCT (“WW vs CW” or 4000K vs 5500K for example) but rarely will you get to know (much less choose) the specific output or tint binning.

The other thing you see on that chart is the ellipses, known as Macadams ellipses. I think this it the Nichia binning system? You can also buy LEDs as either “3-step” or say, “7-step”. The concentric circles are basically just increasingly higher tolerance on tint, and fewer emitters will be in each smaller range. So if you buy an LED sold as “3-step” you are more likely (but not necessarily guaranteed) to wind up with an emitter closer to the BBL, whereas there is more potential tint variation in an LED sold as a “7-step”. But of course this comes at a cost.

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thanks for posting, and including a pic

zebralight is notorious for selling green tinted non-nichia leds, based on mcadams ellipse. greener is brighter

iow, they land above the BBL (and in the upper part of the mcadams circle)

people love their zebras. they do other things well, but not tint, nor CRI R9 (red)

.

Nichia was notorious for selling High CRI LEDs with High R9 CRI, and with tint below the BBL, particularly in the 219b series…

imo 219b are an all time classic

buy now, before they disappear:
http://budgetlightforum.com/node/68168

those are 9080 LEDs…
better than typical 9050 LEDs

the first 2 numbers are the CRI Ra (average CRI), iow 90 CRI or better

the second 2 numbers are the CRI R9 (Red output), iow 80 CRI or better in the Red spectrum

examples of 219c 9050 LEDs
(to illustrate the R9 Red bar):

e1000
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One small suggestion if you’re really going to get into this is to pickup a more popular host like a Convoy S2+ to practice on. You’ll have a bit more room and a lot more choices as far as drivers, MCPCB’s, etc to choose from.

kamots
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Thank you everyone for all the replies! Just absorbing all the information and I’ve been busy with other things. More to come.

I appreciate the suggestion of the Convoy to practice on but I am going with the Tool AA 2.0 since I already own it and it is small/challenging. If I mess it up I will likely not attempt modifying my T1A. If I am successful then the larger T1A should be something I can tackle even though it is going to be more complex to access the emitter. I’m only trying for an emitter swap so I don’t need a lot of other options. We’ll see if it works out Smile

I plan to take a picture or two of the lights I have just to capture the color temperature differences for this discussion. I wish someone with the proper light test equipment had the XR2 to test.

kamots
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Ok here are some of my lights side-by-side on a small stack of white sheets of laser printer paper to ensure a true white surface. Under the paper (visible at the top of the image) is my ESD mat which is off-white and is the background of my YouTube videos including my XR2 review.

Camera was set to 5000K, f/1.8, 1/120, ISO-50.

Really interesting result and is close to what my eyes see with them all aligned next to each other.

Starting from left to right: LightModel (emitter) [level setting]

Anker Bolder (Unknown Cree) [low??] …. Lumintop Tool AA 2.0 (Cree XPL-HD) [Medium with Eneloop] …. ZeroHour Relic XR2 (Cree XHP35 HI ~6000K) [adjusted to match] …. Surefire T1A Titan (no idea) [adjusted to match] … Emisar D4V2 (Luminus SST-20 5000K) [ramped to match]

Of all these lights, looking at them side-by-side like this, I like the XR2 the most. However I have been using the D4V2 more around the house then any of them because of its very low moonlight.

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Oh and yes I know the T1A has an even lower moonlight then any of them, but I can’t stand that almost purple blue garbage anymore. Wish I knew what emitter that was but I couldn’t find it after some searching.

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I think changing the LED in your Low CRI Tool and T1A is a great idea! I do not know what is involved with either mod. Expect a brightness reduction of 30% from the combination of lower CCT plus adding High CRI to your options.

I suggest some N219b 4000k from azhu in the wts section

Another light with a rotary dial, and a low lower than the D4, that is available today, is the new RRT-01.

There is support and info on modifying RRT-01 in this thread,
(this post is a mod to triple, using a spacer cut on a lathe)
http://budgetlightforum.com/comment/1500804#comment-1500804

I actually prefer to EDC single LED lights w reflectors
single LED reflows do not require a custom spacer

I like this hotplate for reflowing LEDs
https://de.aliexpress.com/item/4000086334114.html

(pic is a link to a hotplate reflowing thread)

you will need some flux on the MCPCB after removing the stock LED, and or solder paste to put on the new LED when reflowing

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Is a hot plate the only way? Would hot air not work?

Also, are there any 95ish CRI emitters that are 5000K? I really think 4000K is going to be too warm. It sounds good to buy from someone here that has tested and verified the emitters but I don’t want to buy something I’ll be unhappy with. The 5000K emitter in my D4V2 (which may be lower then 5000K based on my picture) is fine but any warmer I won’t like.

Why do you think my camera, configured to manual settings with 5000K white balance, would show the 5000K emitter as yellowish? I suspect it it just the camera (it is an LG V20 phone) but maybe I got the wrong emitter?