my first build, any advice greatly appreciated

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johny723
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my first build, any advice greatly appreciated

Hi all, I am new to this hobby and I will need your recommendations and advices!

I want to buy a Trustfire J19. I want a “budget” thrower.
I am aware that it needs some modding to unlock its full potential.
I got some inspiration from this http://budgetlightforum.com/node/25503 and this http://budgetlightforum.com/node/31065 thread.

My first question is, if it is possible to do a resistor mod to increase the power output. I plan on buying a stronger driver and LEDs, but would like to get the maximum of it in the stock form, I dont like the idea of buying better LEDs and driver and tossing out the stock. Is it possible to do an easy resistor mod on the stock driver???

Another question is regarding the batteries. Can you please recommend some decent cells that will give me good runtimes and will be able to deliver enough amps even to stronger electronics like in the threads I linked?

Thanks for your help!

Ouchyfoot
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I think 18sixfifty has done resistor mods to this light. If you’re going to up the current, you will need to have emitters mounted on direct thermal path Noctigons or sinkpads.
I’m not sure if the stock driver can be modded to give you 5A plus per emitter. It all depends on what you want.
I bought some Trustfire 32650 for mine, only because I’ve never had a light that takes them. I ordered unprotected and they sent me protected. They are good with the setup I have now, but if I swap in a FET driver, I may remove the protection.
Since few lights accept 32650 cells, you may want to go with 26650. King Kong ICR26650 are a good all around choice.
Overall, this is a pretty easy light to mod.

johny723
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5amps per emitter? I do not hold such high hopes for the stock driver, but I want to mod it anyway. If anything, I will become more familiar with the flashlight. And upgrade it if it smokes…

the trustfires you have, are you satisfied with them? I have some EDITGTL 26650 dealextreme batteries and they have only a bit more than just a third of the advertised capacity ( 2000mAh vs “5800“mAh), so I dont want to buy such rubbish again anymore. I want batteries that are able to deliver at least 80% of the capacity they claim to have.

I want 32650s because I want as long runtimes as possible and I want to utilize the full potential of the flashlight. Not to mention I want the batteries that will withstand high current draw after I have properly modded it ( leds on noctigons + a stronger driver)

I will take a look at 18sixfiftys resistor mod.

Thanks !

johny723
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any other recommendations on 32650 batteries?

what is the best thermal glue/paste? arctic silver? Where can I buy it? I tried ebay.com, but it showed me plenty of thermal pastes of various size, shape and package, all with the same name. I dont want to buy some knock-off copy, how can I tell I am not buying fakes instead of original product???

Dru_dragon
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Which Trustfire 5800mah batteries did u buy? My Flame 26650s are still showing 4000+mah after 6 months. There’s also Feilong 32650s from Fasttech and these from Kaidomain. Arctic alumina make arctic silver.

Andrew

johny723
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oops, I realized I have GTL batteries from DX.com, not trustfires. These http://www.dx.com/p/gtl-rechargeable-3-7v-5800mah-26650-lithium-battery-... I have already corrected my previous statement. They have never had more than 2200 mAh in my TR J-18 in 3s configuration, so I did not want to buy any other DX batteries without a previous good review and recommendation.
I think I will buy some trustfires, they are obviously better than the GTLs.

johny723
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sorry for another noob questions, but what batteries are better to buy? protected or non-protected?
Is it safe to run unprotected cells? Does the driver have undervoltage protection when the cells dont ???
I plan on using the stock driver and then upgrading to this one http://www.lck-led.com/5000ma-driver-modes-p-935.html?cPath=135 and these leds http://intl-outdoor.com/noctigon-xm16-mcpcb-cree-xml2-u2-1a-led-p-748.html

which cells are the best choice for me?

johny723
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update-
I have ordered a TR J-19 and 6x Trustfire 32650 batteries from DX. Cant wait to get them!

I will take photos of the driver and LEDs when they arrive, because I will need your help to find the right spot for a resistor mod or rewire the LEDs if necessary.
The driver should be the same as in a TR 3T6 though.

johny723
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I have abandoned the idea of modding the stock driver . what would have to be modded in the flashlight to use a FET driver and make it reliable ??? Can I use protected cells with this driver? Thanks!

Ouchyfoot
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To mount the FET driver. Or the LCK driver, all you have to mod is some kind of contact board so it will fit into the pill. You can strip the stock driver and mount it on that. Other than that it’s its a straight hook-up.

As far as using protected Trustfire 32650 with a FET driver, I don’t know, but I think they’ll be OK. I have some running at 5A no prob. PM RMM. He should have an idea if they’ll be OK. I pretty much only use unprotected, so I’m not sure how much they can draw before the protection kicks in. The TR-19 is a pretty straight up mod.

johny723
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What is the current draw with this driver? Is the switch capable of handling higher currents?
I am afraid of using unprotected cells, because of their overdischarging. These cells are not cheap and overdischarging will damage them.
Does this FET driver have an undervoltage cut-off so that the cells themselves can be run without any protection circuits???

Ouchyfoot
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On high, it is direct drive, so the current draw will be whatever the cells can handle.
High drain cells will give you higher current levels. I would guess the Trustfires would give about 5.5A on high.
With the Zener modded FET, there is no protection. Those are big cells, with lots of capacity, you would notice them dimming before they’re drained. Besides, they have protection. You can order the FET driver with a Turbo timer, so it will step down to the next mode after 45-90 seconds…whatever you want. Once it’s stepped down, it’s using half the current, and the brightness drop is barely discernable. I really wouldn’t be too concerned, you seem to understand the fact that you should pay attention to what going on with your cells…you have tons of capacity.

If any light wants a FET driver, it’s the massive J19.

johny723
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I have been running electric RC for some time and from what I understand, the undervoltage protection ( either a cut-off or at least a lipo alarm) is a must. I will not risk damaging lipo cells by overdischarging, it destroys them and they can be dangerous as well.
Too bad all small lipo alarms for lipo cells work with single cells, so I can not use them to monitor the voltage of the entire series.
The flashlight is big, I think a small lipo alarm could just squeeze in its head, but all lipo alarms I know use 1s voltage as a monitored value, not 3s voltage…

Has anyone been using this FET driver with unprotected cells for a while? I need to know whether the increased current draw it allows can damage the cells??? I want batteries that will last, not a set that will be toasted after 10 cycles.

I am all for the FET driver but I must find a way how to keep the cells controlled somehow…

johny723
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The TR J19 has arrived and it is far bigger than I imagined!
But I have run into a few problems:
How do I take it apart to change the LEDs and the driver???
this is where I am stuck right now

Ouchyfoot
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Pop the driver out. If you look inside the head there is a small screw (maybe two…can’t remember)… It holds the reflector onto the base. Remove the screw/screws, unscrew the bezel and remove the reflector. ( I think that’s how it goes)

johny723
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I do not see any screw(s). The pic I linked is where I stopped. I unscrewed the brass ring that holds the front spring and this is right under it. There are no screws, no visible threads etc, so I dont know what to do right now. Any ideas?

Ouchyfoot
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That’s the driver your looking at. Pop it out from where it is, and you will be able to access the inside of the head.

johny723
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the problem is it just does not pop out!

johny723
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I managed to get the stuck driver out from the head…

I think it was bad from the factory, it was pressed into its place with some serious force ( assuming from what it took to get it out)
the contact board got damaged a bit, but it still works. The current is not high, so it will be OK until my new driver arrives, but I will need to either repair this contact board or make a new one, it will not hold up to high currents in its current shape. But I had no other choice, I just could not take it apart ( I have LOADS of experience in taking delicate stuff apart, but this driver just could not be moved a bit)

Other than that it is OK.
I will take some beamshots in its bone stock form and then some after I have modded it.

Apart from that, I emailed the Mountain Electronics about the current draw of a stock LCK driver and a FET driver. This is their reply:
Jan, the LCK-LED driver is actually pretty good and you won’t see much of an increase from it. From the stock driver it would be a big increase, but from the 5A LCK-LED you will probably only see about 1A-1.5A difference.

Richard

which makes me really dithery…
is it worth it? Or not???

Ouchyfoot
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Both are great drivers. I have the LCK in mine at the moment. The stock driver on my j19 was about 1A per emitter. The LCK will give about 5A per emitter. The low resistance FET on the FET driver will squeeze some extra current from the cells on high. It will drain your cells faster on high, but Richard can give you as many modes as you want at whatever current levels you wish.

If you’ve already ordered an LCK driver, go with it. Six months from now if you want a different driver, it’s just a little project.

The bottom of your stock driver looked a little different than mine. I’m sure it will still be fine to use as a contact board. Hacking it up a bit shouldn’t make any difference. Take a picture of the driver.
You didn’t say whether you pulled the reflector yet. Did you see the screws that hold it in?

johny723
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I think I will make a new contact board. I have loads of those fibreglass copper-plated PCB boards, so making one should not be a problem. I think I will use that old driver somewhere else ( it would be sick to mount it on one of my rc trucks and use 3 xml-2 leds left from this flashlight, I dont think I will need them in the J19 when my xml2s on noctigons arrive :D)

I already have an LCK driver on the way somewhere between America and Slovakia. I actually ordered it before knowing what a FET driver is. And after realizing I would gain only an amper more or so for the leds, I dont think I really need it now. I dont like keeping redundant stuff. Using the FET driver would also mean more tinkering with my protected cells to rid them of protection circuits… I will buy a FET driver and new unprotected cells when these go south.

I did not take the whole head apart yet. Since I still dont have the new driver and the leds on noctigons and a good thermal glue, I did not want to disassemble it to pieces. I also did not want to let dust or some dirt get into the reflector. But I saw the 2 screws you mentioned, so taking it apart when all parts arrive should not be a problem.

this is the driver. It took some punishment when I tried to take it apart. It might be different to yours. There is also no big spring like you or johnny mac or sixfifty had. The big spring on the right is not in my flashlight

my driver- the cables are short, so I could not take better pictures




Ouchyfoot
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Now that I see it, it looks like the same driver as mine. I’m surprised it was pressed in so tight, mine almost fell out by itself. If you’ve got circuit board, you’re all set for contact boards. I hope your driver doesn’t take too long to arrive.

johny723
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all 32650 batteries have arrived, the driver and the leds are still on the way.
Now I need some good thermal glue to mount the leds. What is the best thermal glue?
And would mixing a thermal glue with copper powder like this http://www.ebay.com/itm/50-grams-Analytical-reagent-grade-copper-metal-p... make some difference? Copper particles should enhance the heat transfer right? But is it necessary in my light?

Ouchyfoot
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There are all kinds of arguments about the thermal properties of adhesives and pastes. On single emitter lights that the reflector centers itself on the LED I use Arctic Silver Paste. On multi-Emitter lights where you need to center and stabilize (glue down) all the LEDs before you wire it up, I just use Fujik Adhesive. Some will tell you that it’s thermal abilities are not the greatest, but when you are pushing the emitters at 5A, the heat moves where it wants…fast. I haven’t had any problems, and I can feel the heat outside the head immediately. I paint the underside of the MBPCPB with a thin layer and tighten down the reflector and bezel so it squeezes it tight…leave for a day.
If you have to remove a dead emitter, it is easier to remove than thermal epoxy.
I save my copper dust and have mixed it with Fujic to attach copper rounds to my pills, but have never used it with MBPCBs. You don’t need it, better to have only a very thin thermal layer between the Noctigon and the pill.

I’ve never seen copper dust online before though, thanks for the link.

johny723
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this one should be even better, it is from Germany and costs even less than the chinese powder I linked first Big Smile http://www.ebay.com/itm/99-50-Kupferpulver-copper-powder-7440-50-8-45-m-...

Which thermal glue should I buy? I think I need a thermal glue that is not epoxy based, but more like silicon. So that I do not damage anything should I need to remove it. ( I will also use it in other applications) Are there any except for the Fujik? I do not orientate on the market well, ebay churns out too many results when I search for it… I dont need brand top end stuff, just something decent that will do the job without damaging circuit board during removal

Ouchyfoot
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Dru_dragon
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It doesn’t really matter what thermal paste you use, just lap the pill and noctigon so you use as little thermal paste as possible. Most people prefer Arctic Alumina.

Andrew

Ouchyfoot
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Since he’ll be wiring up three emitters, he really should use adhesive, not paste. Trying to line up and center three emitters with wires attached that are not already secured by adhesive can be an unnecessary nightmare.

johny723
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bad news: one 32650 cell does not work. It has even negative charge- -0,17V
Are DX good at warranty issues?

Ouchyfoot
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Perhaps the protection circuit is tripped.

 

 
 

 

To reset a batteries protection you need to hook it up to a good (non-tripped) cell. Only do this for about a second. 

 

As as a last resort, you could remove the protection altogether and see if it will take a charge.

johny723
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Resetting it did not help. I have already contacted DX, hope it will get solved soon. I dont want to remove the protection, because all the other batteries are protected, so I would have to do the same on them too.

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