Review: Four-way Convoy S2/S3 mini-review

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That Ninja Guy
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ToyKeeper wrote:
That Ninja Guy wrote:
I put custom firmware on my EDC 18650 XP-G2 and I will eventually on my U2. The XP-G2 is easier because the driver is only held down by a retaining ring.

Oh? Is it compatible with DrJones’ luxdrv? I haven’t taken mine apart so I don’t know what chip controls the logic.

If it’s compatible, I think I see a new PIC programmer in my future… assuming I can get the light apart. The lack of a separate head piece makes things a little more difficult.


That is exactly what I am using, tweaked to my needs. Smile

If it is the same as mine, the hardest part is getting the bezel off, it’s glued down. The reflector just comes right out then you unscrew the pill with tweezers. Then unscrew the retaining ring… BAM! ATTINY13 lol Big Smile

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ToyKeeper wrote:
That Ninja Guy wrote:
I put custom firmware on my EDC 18650 XP-G2 and I will eventually on my U2. The XP-G2 is easier because the driver is only held down by a retaining ring.

Oh? Is it compatible with DrJones’ luxdrv? I haven’t taken mine apart so I don’t know what chip controls the logic.

If it’s compatible, I think I see a new PIC programmer in my future… assuming I can get the light apart. The lack of a separate head piece makes things a little more difficult.

The only obstacle i’ve seen from prebuilt versions of this light is that there is a “glue” holding the bezel in…after that a pair of long thin pilers or even a metal pick of some sort gets the light apart. Do a search on the EDC 18650 threads to see some that were taken apart.

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That Ninja Guy wrote:
That is exactly what I am using, tweaked to my needs. Smile

If it is the same as mine, the hardest part is getting the bezel off, it’s glued down.


Sweet. Do you need to melt the glue first, or just force it? i’ve heard a leather glove and pliers might do the trick.

As for re-flashing, I recall seeing links somewhere about the hardware required, but I don’t know whether I need a specific OS and compiler. I currently don’t have any Windows boxes, but could probably set up a VM if necessary. I’d rather do the reflashing from Linux though, if possible.

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ToyKeeper wrote:
That Ninja Guy wrote:
That is exactly what I am using, tweaked to my needs. Smile

If it is the same as mine, the hardest part is getting the bezel off, it’s glued down.


Sweet. Do you need to melt the glue first, or just force it? i’ve heard a leather glove and pliers might do the trick.

As for re-flashing, I recall seeing links somewhere about the hardware required, but I don’t know whether I need a specific OS and compiler. I currently don’t have any Windows boxes, but could probably set up a VM if necessary. I’d rather do the reflashing from Linux though, if possible.


I used a few layers of denim and pliers. You may be able to get it with little to no heat.

For hardware I use a USB programmer from FastTech(a couple of bucks) and I picked up my SOIC 8 clip from eBay. I paid 17 for the clip.

I used avrstudio for compiling and avrdude from the command line to flash the chip. I’m sure it could be done from Linux, but I personally could not tell you how, sorry.

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I disassembled my S3 by removing the battery and end cap, putting the tube in a Ziplock bag, and dangling it head down in a pot of boiling water for about 60 seconds…..I used a palm sized piece of that ‘exercise elastic’ (that comes in strips about 4” wide) in one hand, and an oven mitt on the other hand. Came apart with only hand force.
I did mark one up earlier with leather & pliers, but discovered that a bit of heat releases the glue just fine. In fact, after reassembling it was ‘glued’ again all by itself, and I had to re-heat it to take it apart a second time.
Since then I’ve taken other lights apart this way as well.

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I just finished assembling a DIY Convoy S3 host that arrived today from Fasttech with an XM-L T5-5C1 / 4000K and the 8* AMC7135.

As I also bought a pre-assembled Convoy S3 Cree XM-L T5-5C with 8* AMC7135, I had the opportunity to compare.

While I thought in theory they’d essentially be the same, there is a difference. The DIY assembly has a spot that is probably tighter by up to 30%, and the tint subjectively appears to be cooler by perhaps 750K. Both are going to be acceptable for bike lights where cooling will be efficient. (I’ve found that when hiking outdoors at this time of year, they are barely warm to the touch on high, whereas indoors they get too hot to hold, so that little bit of active cooling even at speeds as low as 2.5 km/hr. while going uphill really makes a difference.)

Even the S3 DIY spot is not as tight as the Cree C20 DIY Host using the same driver and LED, so together they will make a good combination for biking. I wondering perhaps if the pre assembled light may not have the reflector screwed down as tight as I did on my DIY unit to account for the difference in the hot spot. So for anyone contemplating this unit, if you want a tighter hot spot you may want to assemble it yourself.

Regards, TS

Bort
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The hidden modes are not hidden enough, can i solder one of the stars to get rid of it?

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whokilledJR
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Bort wrote:
The hidden modes are not hidden enough, can i solder one of the stars to get rid of it?

Did you manage to change the mode group? Once done you can’t access the blinky modes.

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The blink on low is a bit annoying, but OTOH I kind of liking having confirmation that it’s on the correct setting since sometimes low still seems incredibly bright.

It’d be kind of nice if it didn’t have mode memory, and instead just always started on low.

Anyway, I’m guessing that the low-mode blink is why the hidden modes are “not hidden enough”. And I think it can be soldered to force it, but I’m not sure which star to use or if this is the version of the driver with that feature.

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whokilledJR wrote:
Bort wrote:
The hidden modes are not hidden enough, can i solder one of the stars to get rid of it?

Did you manage to change the mode group? Once done you can’t access the blinky modes.


sometimes i want to change the brightness and it blinks and goes to blinky group instead, or i only happen to need a few secs of low light so turning it off changes the mode, or a few times it changed back to blinky group on its own, i just want rid of it

The Journal of Alternative Facts TM

"It is critical that there is a credible academic source for the growing and important discipline of alternative facts. This field of study will just keep winning, and we knew that all the best people would want to be on board. There is a real risk in the world today that people might be getting their information about science from actual scientists"

 

whokilledJR
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Bort wrote:
whokilledJR wrote:
Bort wrote:
The hidden modes are not hidden enough, can i solder one of the stars to get rid of it?

Did you manage to change the mode group? Once done you can’t access the blinky modes.


sometimes i want to change the brightness and it blinks and goes to blinky group instead, or i only happen to need a few secs of low light so turning it off changes the mode, or a few times it changed back to blinky group on its own, i just want rid of it

Come to think of it that blink in low mode is kind of annoying. I’m pretty sure it’s the third star that changes the driver to 3 modes, although I haven’t done one for a while, someone else may be able to confirm it. Make sure you ground the star to the outer negative ring, and don’t just solder the star by itself, I remember making that mistake once.

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It’s the third star. When I ground the driver to the pill I usually do it at the third star and kill two birds with one stone. However in the case of my S3 I don’t think the star to ground bridge took. So I had to use the switch method, and I agree, it is not a well thought out algorithm, and I also hate it. So I will be disassembling both my S3’s and try to bridge that star again.

My other two annoyances with the S3 are with the pill, the dimples for screwing the pill in are so small it’s hard to get purchase on them, and I had to dremel the tab off the driver because the pill has no keyway in it.

Regards, TS

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I thought some 105c driver do not use the stars for mode switching? The ones for sale that use the low mode blink do not use the stars iirc.

Newb

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bdiddle wrote:
I thought some 105c driver do not use the stars for mode switching? The ones for sale that use the low mode blink do not use the stars iirc.

i heard about that too, hence i am hoping someone has tried to it positive effect

The Journal of Alternative Facts TM

"It is critical that there is a credible academic source for the growing and important discipline of alternative facts. This field of study will just keep winning, and we knew that all the best people would want to be on board. There is a real risk in the world today that people might be getting their information about science from actual scientists"

 

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I got my Convoy S2 (XML U2-1B, 2100mAh model). I’ve not tried out if the stars work or not (or perhaps I’ll just flash it with a better software). I find the blink tolerable but I sometimes seem to change mode groups by accident which is very annoying.

Other thoughs:
-Very floody. A narrower optic would help a lot. I tried 10 degree and 15 degree optics and I liked the beam more that way.
Unfortunately for example Fasttech XML optics (like the 10 degree optic) are too short to fit there without some kind of spacer in front. The pill does not screw forward enough and at the extreme tha battery contact is lost. (A 5-pack of extra glass plates should probably do just fine as a spacer Smile See FT site for measures of the reflector to be replaced.
-2100mAh was hitting 50C on the outer shell in 5 minutes. (Lamp horizontally on the floor at room temperature). Anything more than that is not safe for longer use I think. Even at that current I’m thinking if I should remove 1-2 7135s.
-The shell is pretty thin which makes me wonder if it conducts heat away good enough. The hot end of the tube at battery end location stayed at around 40C or so.
-Could be smaller for EDC use.
-mode spacing is not perfect and it requires two presses to switch mode after the memory has been stored.

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Bort wrote:
bdiddle wrote:
I thought some 105c driver do not use the stars for mode switching? The ones for sale that use the low mode blink do not use the stars iirc.
i heard about that too, hence i am hoping someone has tried to it positive effect

I just gave it a try. First I had to drill bigger dimples into the pill with my dremel so my circlip pliers could get a grip to extract it. I bridged star #3 to the outer ring. Reassembled and because of the better grip, screwed the pill down until tight. Then when I replaced the lens, it had lots of space to rattle around, so had to adjust the pill again, now it is loose and probably will not retain it’s present position so will have to seal the pill threads by the looks of it. Tried the switch again, and unfortunately shorting the star had no effect, still get the programming blink after 5 seconds on low mode, and it will still reset the modes. Probably will need some of those extra glass lenses to space the bezel gap now as mentioned previously.

Regards, TS

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Has anyone noticed if they turn the light on low and use the tailcap a quarter turn to turn it on and off several times rapidly you can find a mode thats low but strobes approximately once per second?

The Journal of Alternative Facts TM

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Bort wrote:
Has anyone noticed if they turn the light on low and use the tailcap a quarter turn to turn it on and off several times rapidly you can find a mode thats low but strobes approximately once per second?
That’s the low battery protection thing kicking in on the drivers; you’ll get the same thing if you suddenly impact the light (Not that I’m recommending this) or switch modes too fast in some cases.

It should enter this mode automatically when the battery is low (Step down from high/medium, but maybe not from low) however I wouldn’t rely on it.

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Dobanodnao wrote:
Bort wrote:
Has anyone noticed if they turn the light on low and use the tailcap a quarter turn to turn it on and off several times rapidly you can find a mode thats low but strobes approximately once per second?
That’s the low battery protection thing kicking in on the drivers; you’ll get the same thing if you suddenly impact the light (Not that I’m recommending this) or switch modes too fast in some cases.

It should enter this mode automatically when the battery is low (Step down from high/medium, but maybe not from low) however I wouldn’t rely on it.


interesting, i can only induce this with screwing and unscrewing the tailcap, but not with the switch

The Journal of Alternative Facts TM

"It is critical that there is a credible academic source for the growing and important discipline of alternative facts. This field of study will just keep winning, and we knew that all the best people would want to be on board. There is a real risk in the world today that people might be getting their information about science from actual scientists"

 

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I get similar on the light I modded. Because my modded light isn’t exactly perfect the battery can move and if I shake the light while it’s on the battery looses contact with the driver for a moment and then low voltage kicks in. So basically by doing what you’re doing you’re simulating low battery voltage.

Bort
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mfpmax wrote:
I get similar on the light I modded. Because my modded light isn’t exactly perfect the battery can move and if I shake the light while it’s on the battery looses contact with the driver for a moment and then low voltage kicks in. So basically by doing what you’re doing you’re simulating low battery voltage.

interesting, so the driver kicks in when it thinks the voltage is low, but doesn’t realize if voltage goes back up to normal unless i power cycle it

The Journal of Alternative Facts TM

"It is critical that there is a credible academic source for the growing and important discipline of alternative facts. This field of study will just keep winning, and we knew that all the best people would want to be on board. There is a real risk in the world today that people might be getting their information about science from actual scientists"

 

hoffig
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I get the same effect with my sample as well. I guess unscrewing the back makes bad contact and the driver detects it as a dropped voltage.

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One of mine had a faulty switch and would go into low-voltage mode entirely on its own. When changing modes, it was pretty much random if it would rotate by 0, 1, or 2 modes or go into low-voltage or just give a dim flicker. But I contacted Intl-Outdoor about it and they sent me a free replacement switch. Works great now. Smile

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I had a couple of DIY Hosts that gave me the same behaviour, in the end it was due twice to bad grounding of the pill to the driver, and once bad grounding of the switch.

Regards, TS

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Need to get the S3.
The emitter and tint choices are a bit confusing.
If I want the S3 with the floodiest beam w neutral tint, which configuration should I choose? ( T5-5C?)

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whokilledJR wrote:
Just ordered the Convoy S3 T5 5C with the 2.8A driver. :bigsmile: It’s the super wide spill comment that got me, as a wide spill is very handy for cycling and I was looking for a nicer straight tube with a NW tint compared with my current HD2011. I was considering more expensive options like the Xtar BK-12 or the Jetbeam St Cycler, however price and a lack of a NW tint was the decider. I’m hoping the spill can match a typical bike light for width. Also ordered some black tail caps to replace that horrible cheap looking green one.
My Convoy S3 just arrived with a faulty tailcap, take 10 clicks to turn on. I have metered it and confirmed the cap is faulty. I would like to get a new cap rather than return this half way around the world for refund/repair. Can you tell me which ones will fit? Cheers
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It's likely just the tailcap switch inside the tailcap that needs fixed.  Have you removed the retaining ring to get the switch out to see what's wrong (perhaps a bad solder joint)?  I can't help you locate a switch, but at least you can stop pursuing an entire tailcap (which you likely won't find).

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I have disassembled the tail cap and it’s definitely the switch. It is mounted on a 20mm PCB

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One of my S3 units had a faulty switch. Intl-Outdoor sent me a new switch for free, since that’s where I got the S3 from, but it took a while.

You might have better luck simply re-melting the solder in your switch, since that can often solve this type of issue. However, I-O and some other stores sell extra switches if you’d prefer to just buy a part.

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Just got my Convoy S3 today. It actually gets hot quite quick and feel hotter than my Zebralight SC62w, maybe because of a lack of heatsink?

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