Have a Convoy S3 and hate the beam pattern? Here's how to fix it.

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comfychair
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Have a Convoy S3 and hate the beam pattern? Here's how to fix it.

 

Convoy S3 (and its unbranded versions - what's it called, a D1?) has a short stumpy reflector and as such it's all flood, all the time. So much flood you might feel the urge to start collecting wood to build an ark. If that's not what you want it to do, you're pretty screwed as there's no room for a deeper reflector without eating up too much space in the battery tube. I haven't found any reflectors that will fit the available space that work much better than the original part.

So get some of these: http://intl-outdoor.com/2-pcs-cree-xml-led-optic-10-degrees-p-474.html

Don't throw the original reflector away, I guess it might work good to stick under the short leg on a wonky table or something. Maybe tie a string through it and use it as a cat toy. Waste not, want not, etcetera and so on.

The 10* TIR comes with a square hole in the base of the holder. The front end of the holder fits tight in the ID of the bezel so it can't rotate as you assemble the bezel or tighten the pill going in through the back end of the battery tube. So, the TIR/holder needs to be able to spin around the LED instead of being locked onto it. Use a tapered carbide bit turned by hand or in a pinch, a round file, to open the square hole to the size of the ring on a common XML centering insulator.

The OD of the widest part of the holder needs to be filed/sanded down a bit to fit inside the bezel. I don't remember the original size but it's not much that needs to be taken off. It's not so much that it affects the retaining tabs or fit of the TIR in the holder. Re-use the glass lens, the o-ring won't seal against the TIR/holder.

 

Screw it all together, and it's done! No rings, no weird colors, just a very clean tight spot with a nice even corona, and just a little bit of spill.

NO I'm not going to post beamshots, a pair of the TIRs is less than $3! Do it yourself! Party

 

(tip on how to properly assemble the S3: Screw the pill into the body as far as it will go. Install the bezel, tighten until it's fully seated, then back it off about 1/4 turn. Then reach up through the body and tighten the pill just until snug, and then tighten the bezel to get the right preload to keep all the parts fitted together nice and tight.)

Alcius
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Is this the clone of Convoy S3 you are mentioning at the beginning of your post ? It is called a OEM D7 host, and can be found there :
http://www.cnqualitygoods.com/goods.php?id=1697

I hope that this will help those who like the DIY way, and are able to build flashlights from pieces (I can’t do this kind of work, so I’m only an admirer of these persons Sad ).

gords1001
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nice mod comfy. I’m coming to like these tir’s in tube hosts, my xiozhi is so much nicer to use since I fitted one.

this looks to be the same as the edc18650 from intloutdoor, I’m going to give one of the tirs I have a go and see what happens.

mattthemuppet
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nice – I’ve used that optic in a lot of lights and I really like it (it’s also in my EDC). It supposedly produces an even “narrower” beam with an XP-G2, which I’ll check out soon. One thing though – optics are designed to have the bottom of the holder fixed relative to the LED to give the right beam profile. You can usually go lower (ie. no holder, like in my C20) which gives a floodier beam, but higher (like you did with the gasket) often makes for a ringy beam. Looks like this optic isn’t as sensitive to that – I’ll have to try it myself and see if it makes the beam any tighter.

comfychair
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Well, I'll admit to a little fib... I cut the hole too big to align on a standard gasket, I found one in the parts box that had a slightly bigger ring that fit the mis-cut hole and its flat part is only about .010" thick, compared to the semi-translucent one shown that measures .030"...

If a thicker gasket affects the focus, it's relatively easy to shave down the base of the holder to compensate. This one is good enough as-is I don't wanna mess with it, especially compared to what the beam was like originally.

mattthemuppet
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thanks, useful information to have. Like you said, all you have to do is shave down the holder to compensate. Several optics I’ve used where I haven’t gotten it right produced truly horrible beams, which were then just fine once I sorted it out (the worst was an XR-E optic unsurprisingly).

On the C20 there isn’t enough room in the head for the holder, so the optic sits flat on the LED and seals against the stock o-ring. I like it a great deal but a thrower it is not Smile Still, even with the holder (in other lights) it still doesn’t throw, but it does have a beautiful beam.

comfychair
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This one shows the telltale black donut hole in the center at a distance of about 4 inches, the sign it's going to throw well - or at least it's focused to get as much as possible from the particular combo.

It has a domed XML2 T6 4C in it now, I might see what it does with a dedomed U2 1A a little later...

AlexTG
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Hehe
You can call me a pervert, but I’m actually using S3 with 45 degree IOS optics
Original S3 reflector’s beam was too narrow for me

mattthemuppet
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pervert’s a bit strong, weird might fit though Smile I guess you like an even wall of light?

Comfy – I’m interested to hear what happens with a dedomed LED. Good point about looking for a donut hole close in – I’ve noticed that a lot of times but never used it as a diagnostic.

comfychair
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The hotspot is the same size as the same LED in the 20x20.5mm reflector (S2/5/6 and the like), I don't see why it wouldn't also give similar results with other LEDs that work well in the deep reflector. Domed XPG2 hotspot is about 1/2 the size of a domed XML2, dedomed XPG2 is about 1/3 the size, in those deep reflectors.

Now if only the S3 had a removable head and was easier to work on, it'd be my new favorite - after being one of my most disliked for so long... Silly

comfychair
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This TIR does not like XPG2 - at least not dedomed, I don't have a built P60 pill with a stock XPG2 to try, but I don't think it would be any better. The beam is just ugly, rings and gaps and general ugliness.

With a dedomed XML2 it's OK, but not enough better than the stock XML2 to warrant dedoming. The center spot is slightly smaller but not by much, and the nice smooth corona turns into a two-stage thing that's not as nice. So leave the dome on and be happy. Smile

mattthemuppet
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interesting, thanks for the update. Once I clear my work desk I’ll have to get back in the garage – I have a nice looking XP-G2 5B that I’d like to try with these optics. I have 10, 25, 45 and 60, so I should have all the bases covered Smile

tallboybass
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AlexTG wrote:
Hehe
You can call me a pervert, but I’m actually using S3 with 45 degree IOS optics
Original S3 reflector’s beam was too narrow for me

OK, you’re a pervert.

I like the S3’s beam as is, though after changing the driver and emitter (Qlite3.04&XML25C1) I left the little spacer around the LED out. It may be floodier now! Is ‘floodier’ a word?

Tom E
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My IOS EDC (Convoy S3 type) bought a while ago, has gone thru 2 mod upgrades. It does about 800 lumens with a XML U3/SinkPAD and Nanjg at 2.8A. I wanted to keep the wide spread out beam pattern and have seen nice increase in lumens using this: IOS 45 degrees optic, so decided to give it a try.

I had to sand the front end of it down of course, pulled out the AR lens I had in it, and resulting lumens measured went up by about 150 to 950 lumens total, and it's got a beautiful wide smooth beam pattern now. And by wide, I mean lights up an entire dark room from side to side.

At 950 lumens with a XML-U3/SinkPAD/2.8A Nanjg, I'm figuring I could hit maybe 1,200+ at 3.5A with an XM-L2 U2. I already did 1,150 with a Convoy S3 host at 3.5A with an XM-L2 U2 1A/Noctigon with the stock reflector and AR lens.

I have no clue why these optics do so well, but I also did a couple of UF S5's (the $4 ones) with the same 45 deg optic and also saw the same leap in lumens. With all those surface dimples, you would think there would be a big loss, but the opposite is true. Unless for some reason it's faking out my PVC lightbox, but in a dark room or outside in the yard these optics are damn impressive too. I tried these: FastTech 45 deg optic 5 pack and got hugh loss's of lumens, like 25% less than the IOS 45 deg optic, but you get pretty much the exact effect of a zoomie in full flood, which also may have a purpose. Actually I'm using now a UF S5 with one of these FT 45 deg optics on my head strap for working at my bench - love the uniform wide, smooth beam it throws at 2.1A with an XM-L2 T6 3C in medium mode (36% - 9.4kHz PWM).

This is totally opposite of getting more throw, but flooders have their purpose too.

comfychair
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Screwing in the bezel & pill as a unit leaves the pill floating in the threads of the body, for good contact (both kinds, electrical & thermal) they need to be tightened independently. Or, the threads of the bezel and pill may not be phased together and could bind or pull apart when the bezel engages the threads. Making the square hole round lets the pill be tightened like you would do with a design with a normal removable head.

I like the dimensions of the S3/EDC, and really like the light with the TIRs, I just wish the thing had a damn removable head!! |(

 

edit: Tom, did you shorten the holder at the front face to get rig of the overhang, or just reduce the OD (or both)? I left the length of the holder as-is and kept the glass lens. Does the o-ring land on the TIR or the holder without the lens?

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*** Deleted previous post and comments on an alternate assembly method ***

Note: Comfy's method described in the OP is the best method for assemblying the optic into an S3 style host.

-- I only sanded the outside to reduce the OD on the optic, just like you. 

comfychair
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I leave the bezel about 1/4 turn from fully seated, then reach through the backside with tweezers to seat the pill up against the reflector/TIR, then tighten the bezel fully. Locks it all together nicely.

transam
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I just got some optics in the mail today, and popped a 10 degree TIR into an S2+ to give it a shot.
Even with the shallower reflector, it is so much more useable than a normal S2 or S2+.
I’m a Mechanical design engineer, so spend a lot of time in warehouse/office/random building lofts, unlit, wondering if I can fit in all the kit I need to have our sub contractors install ventilation, air con, new lights, whatever.
The 10 degree is absolutely perfect – a decent throw (both lights on standard drivers and emitters), and enough spill that I don’t fall through the ceiling. The smooth reflector on the TIR is great, as well.
Definitely a (very cheap!) mod worth doing – I ordered all the TIR variations they had, but as soon as I put in the 10 degree, I knew it was perfect. Took about 5 minutes, no soldering or messing around to do.
Very much recommended!

VaKo
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I came up with a slightly different approach, mainly because the only tool I had to hand was a pocket knife. Basically I cut the lip off of the holder, mounted it as normal, placed that TIR in the holder and added an extra o-ring:

Step 01:

Step 02:

Step 03:

Step 04:

Step 05:

While it’s not as pretty, it does mean I don’t have to mount glass in front of the TIR and the focus is correct.

This is a 45⁰ TIR, which makes it very floody, but will evenly illuminate half a room.