DQG tiny 4 18650 triple mod

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Dutcheee
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DQG tiny 4 18650 triple mod

I’ve read a lot on this and the “other” flashlight forum. Learned a lot in the past few months, thanks for all the great info!

Hereby my first mod review! Warning, quite picture heavy..

I liked the size & looks of the DQG 18650 for a while. I like small EDC pocket rockets. Usually I keep a modded 10440 Thrunite Ti with me, but 18650 is nice for good runtimes.
Modding it seemed quite a nice challenge, so I just started ordering the parts and see how far I could get Crazy
Firelight2 did a mod on the 3rd version, which was very helpful for me in this mod of the DQG #4! Hopefully this can help some others in modding the #4.

I never made a triple, so this had to be it! The parts I used:

DQG 18650 tiny 4 (Gearbest sale, $25,49)
Noctigon DTP triple MCPCB incl. gold plated jumpers (intl-outdoor $3,79)
Carclo 10507 triple optic (intl-outdoor $2,98)
3X XP-L Hi V2-4B Neutral White 4500K LED (Kaidomain $17,67)
BLF A6 A17DD-L FET+1 driver (Banggood $5)
0,8mm copper heatsinks (Banggood $2)
21.3 × 1mm AR coated glass lens (Kaidomain $2,14)
22AWG wire (~0)

Total: $59,07

Additional cost:
SOIC8 programming clip (Ebay $3,22)
ATtiny 51 USBASP Programmer (Fasttech $2,30)

Software for programming: (Free)
Atmel studio 7.0
AVRdude
MHV AVR Shell
ESwitch.C from Tom E, Modified STAR Momentary with Strobe.

Some pictures before the mod:
DQG head

DQG head underside

DQG head inside

The bezel is unglued and unscrews easy.
Thereafter I heated the head with a heater gun and was able to push the whole board out in the vise, placing a wrench socket around the LED. In this process the microswitch popped off, but fortunately it was still OK. No further damage was done.

The 0,8mm heatsink was too thin, so I soldered two plates together and hand filed it to fit. Also the cutout for the switch was hand filed and a hole drilled for the wiring to the LEDs. Finally I gave it a polish.

I filed the edges of the Noctigon board and the carclo optic down, so they fitted the head. Parts:

I placed the heatsink, Noctigon board, Carclo, Oring and Glass lens. The top end fits without rattling:

The switch press fits and stays in position without glue. Works as it should.

Next I reflowed the Noctigon board with the XPL’s and gold plated jumpers to parallel configuration. First added solderpaste to the LEDs & MCPCB and added solder to each solderpoint on the MCPCB.

Then I placed everything in position and held my soldering iron underneath the board until it all settled. I pushed the leds down with the carclo optic to get them seated all the way, but this cracked the white coating adjacent to the phosphorous layer a tiny bit. Fortunately all LEDs worked fine and nothing was broken.. I had to do it twice, since I misalligned the LED’s the first time. The LED underside with the > goes to + side, I thought the > had to point to the + side at first.. Big Smile

Next the driver was up. The brass 17>20MM retaining ring I bought was no good, but I could salvage the original retaining ring. I soldered a blob on the + terminal.

Then I had to Flash the driver with a momentary firmware.
I followed this how-to from Hoop. Watch out, the colored ribbon on my sample was on the other side. 1-8 was 8-1.
Modded the clip and ribbon:

Next I made a .hex file of the STARmom modded by Tom E with the modifications;
#define MODES 0,1,12,102,255
#define TURBO_TIMEOUT 938 // 15 Seconds

and flashed it to the Attiny13A of the BLF driver.

Next I soldered the two wires I previously soldered to the microswitch to the Attiny13A pin #2 and ground. Then I replaced the original wiring to the MCPCB with 22AWG. Unfortunately that’s the heaviest gauge I’ve got.

Then I soldered the driver to the original retaining ring (upper left on picture above) and placed it in the head. It was a press fit, but I will add some thermal glue later.
It fits without any room to spare.

Added the heatsink and MCPCB (Thermal grease still needs to be added!)

And it all fits!

Now.. Does it work? Hell yeah! Party
Here’s a comparison shot with my Nitecore P12GT on the left, modded DQG on the right:

There are a few flaws still though.

1: The light doesn’t turn off. It starts in a sub moon and then cycles through all modes as it should. Strobe works fine. It’s just that it doesn’t shut down, so I have to unscrew the tailcap 1/4 turn.

2: One of the leads to the MCPCB unsoldered itself. This thing get’s crazy hot in 15 sec’s. I’m going to add heavier gauge wire and thermal grease and see where it goes from there.

3: The glass lens is a bit small. I think 21,9mm or so would be perfect.

4: As expected, it get’s blazing hot in about 15 sec’s. I have a X6 driver underway and hope to reflow it with a Attiny85 and add Narsil to get thermal limiting.

This thing is so small and stupidly bright! I also love the warm tint. Way more lumen than the P12GT and has a higher ceiling bounce than my UV-S5 Evil
A quick tailcap amp reading showed 13,8A!

I love this light!

EDIT: Corrected error in the pricing in parts list

Edited by: Dutcheee on 05/10/2016 - 15:54
OrionLight
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That’s amazing! So much light out of such a small ….. uh…. light! Big Smile

ReManG
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Incredible mod, I am in awe of your skills as I am of Firelight2’s skill in his mod. I do like that the DQG IV head is not glued like the III was. I do not know if I will ever do more than put a warm white XM-L2 into mine, but this is an awesome mod…

Well written and the pictures are very helpful. The wood block for reflowing is somthing I will use, my helping hands thingy always droops at the worst time…

I use Qtips to press my LED’s down, I have cracked one XPL HI, and so I use the Qtips. I have thought about a spacer and some tape to do triples better, currently my Qtip skills on triples are pretty funny looking trying to hold all three apart at the right distance. It works, just aggravating at times.

EDIT: Did you get an amp draw on the constant on sub moonlight mode? It may be worth just leaving it as a “lit head” much like the lighted tail cap PD68 does…

giorgoskok
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Very nice mod !
Could you give more info for the driver ? I mean how to connect the the side switch

Beer
Dutcheee
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Thanks for the nice replies! I guess I got lucky on quite a few stages in this mod..

@ReManG these blocks aren’t just blocks offcourse. It’s a real high-tech Dutch soldering system LOL

I was actually thinking I really need clamps next time. One shiver and all plumets to the ground..

Won’t you easily move the leds with a qtip and risk shorting them out?

The reading on “off” gave 0,025A. So a bit more than sub-lumen I guess. Guess that drains the battery in 5 days. While I wasn’t planning carrying this thermal granade without lockout anyway , I still hope someone has an idea why it’s not turning off..
Maybe a ground problem? Or the “1” level I programmed the firmware is too low and gives errors? I need to redo the “high” anyway, since 40% is still thermally unstable. Will try 30% next time.

@Giorgioskok the microswitch connects to ground (outer ring on driver) and Attiny13A pin #2. This is the “switch” pin in the firmware from Tom E which I flashed to the BLF driver. I soldered it with 22AWG wire, but I guess thinner wire would be easier.

The Miller
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Wauw mooi man!
Very nice!

giorgoskok
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@Dutcheee thank you for the info Wink

djozz
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Very nice mod, dutchee! And well documented as well Smile I hope you will find why it does not switch off.

I did a few small S2+ triples that draw around 14A, the heat path to the shell must be very well attended to, and the high mode is just not for anything more than a few seconds, the heat also messes with the timing of short and medium presses of the BLF-A6 driver.

And I admire that you got the software part working, it is something I will never master.

FmC
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Thanks for posting, great mod. Beer

It’s satisfying to bring together a light which you have modded many aspects of.

Well done.

MRsDNF
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Now that is a little hot rod. Orsm work.

 

djozz quotes, "it came with chinese lettering that is chinese to me".

                      "My man mousehole needs one too"

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Old-Lumens. Highly admired and cherished member of Budget Light Forum. 11.5.2011 - 20.12.16. RIP.

 

keengeorge
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G'Day Dutcheee, smile

 

Great work.

 

Best Regards,

George

 

Firelight2
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Great mod Dutchee!

Glad you found my DQG Tiny III mod helpful. Cool

The key to prevent the star from overheating is thermal grease. In a more recent mod I found I could actually get away with basically a hollow pill with nothing under the star… as long as I had plenty of thermal grease at the edges of the star. This is how I did it in my latest triple (Sunwayman C10R running a FET driver, triple XPL-HI and an Efest IMR purple 18500 cell). With the 18500 cell sitting where the stock driver used to sit there wasn’t room for a heatsink. With plenty of AS5 at the edges of the Noctigon triple the emitters don’t overheat and the leads don’t desolder themselves.

Dutcheee
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Thanks, I really was fulfilling to put all my gained knowledge from BLF to good work. This light would’ve never seen daylight without all the contribution on this great forum!

@ReManG

Some pictures of the intergrated driver/mcpcb of the stock DQG. I think a reflow will be quite a challenge. Besides that, the switch tends to “catch” between the slotted opening in the head, so preventing it from snapping off is difficult. Maybe just in my sample..


@Djozz I’m always awed looking at your mods. If you just follow Hoop’s post and all the liks he shows, it will be a piece of cake for you! I got less lucky reprogramming the original BLF firmware to erase the turbo stepdown for another light I’ve got, so not out of the woods myself!

Thanks about the info about the timing. I thought I was seeing some erratic behavior in the 15sec turbo stepdown. It seems not to step down when (over)heating.

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great work!

thank you for sharing Smile

 all new deals are also posted here: deals.m4dm4x.com
if you do not find what you are looking for :

ask MARTIN@M4DM4X.COM - i will save you money!

ReManG
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Dutchee,

Thanks for the driver pictures. I was going to give it a try with a 100W iron on the battery side contact while still in the head. Then attempt to put the new one on… One day, not anytime soon…. Thankfully the NW is a nice tint and not like a greenish one like some other brands have…

Do you think the switch could be desoldered before pushing the driver out? Looks to be a bear either way, but so glad it worked out for you on this mod… that looks incredible. Narsil and temp regulation would be the bees knees for a light like this…

Sirius9
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Nice mod, it must have been quite a deal of work to put this together!

 

Hunter
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Wow, just wow,
nice work Smile

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Great mod!laughing

My PayPal address: oldlumens (insert the @ sign here) gmail.com

My YouTube Flashlight Video Channel

The BLF Modding Links Thread 

http://imageshack.com/a/img922/1374/jQ2wdL.jpg

 

lumenzilla
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Great work!
I’m dreaming of build my own triple, dunno when. LOL.

altonx
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Dutcheee wrote:
One of the leads to the MCPCB unsoldered itself.

What kind of solder did you use? Switching from lead based to unleaded solder should help both with elevated temperature and thermal conductivity(especially those heatsink plates soldered together). Here is the table of (almost?) all solder alloy types with melting points, and thermal conductivity for more common alloys:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solder#Solder_alloys|
Sn-Pb37 have thermal conductivity of 50.9 W/(mK) with melting point of 183C whereas Sn-Cu3 have 70.4 W/(mK) and melting point around 227C
(pure aluminium for comparison have 240 W/(mK) and copper about 400 W/(mK))

I know that there are some durability drawbacks in using unleaded solder but mainly in low temp environment so not exactly the flashlight related Wink
I’m not familiar with any issues within flashlights. Anybody have any experience?

Dutcheee
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Wow, I was totally unaware. I thought lead based solder was the way to go and is what I used. Thanks for pointing this out!

I added thermal paste (sipik) and (more) properly resoldered the two wires. It didn’t happen again, but offcourse I was lucky it didn’t cause a short.

A 20% temperature increase in the solderbond and better conductivity is nice, I’ll scout for some Sn-Cu3 solder!

After 20secs on turbo (stepdown doesn’t seem to work for some reason, not even at 90secs Wink ) the light get’s too hot to hold. But maybe the solder is nearing 180C right next to the LEDs..?

Does this type of solder need another solder technique, apart from a somewhat higher temperature?
Isn’t solder cracking an apparent issue with these lead free solders in flashlights, since they have a lot of warm/cold cycles?

altonx
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I think most of us use lead based solder because it’s lower melting temperature and wetting properties is just easier to work with, there’s also easy availability factor and force of habit. No different soldering technique is required(or at least I do not use it) but higher temperature can require more power to work comfortably. With RoHS directive implementation in EU all current LEDs conform to lead free soldering requirements and major flashlight manufacturers should use lead free solder for that market. I am not aware of any problems with lead free solder in LED applications, but I do not reject the possibility. I had no need to reflow LEDs for high power flashlights yet, I did it for single AA lights so I used lead based solder I had on hand. It’s also worth noting that higher required temperature combined with makeshift temperature control (or lack thereof) poses greater risk of LED damage. But then again – pioneers are the ones making history Wink

There’s also this thread here: Thermal conductivity of solder and pure indium is proposed as a solder because of superior properties (157C melting point, 81.8 W/(mK) thermal conductivity). But it seems it was not put to test ultimately.

Dutcheee
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I’ve got all the new components in, so it was time for the next mod on the modded DQG! Party

New parts:
20 AWG wire (18 was too thick for the center hole, too lazy to drill it out..)
BLF X6 Attiny25 driver (Banggood)
Atmel Attiny85 (ebay)

First I flashed Narsil to the Attiny85.

Then I desoldered the AT25 from the driver.
You can see, there is quite a size difference in the MCU’s

I added solderpaste to the driverboard

I bent the AT85 paws in a little and reflowed it to the driver, with my soldering iron.

Then I soldered the 20AWG LED wires to the driver.
Connected the microswitch to AT85 pin #2 and ground with thin silicone wire this time.
I’ve never been so happy with 2 blinks, the first sign of Narsil functioning. Thumbs Up

After the first assembly, the switch came loose. So I glued it in with Sipik.

Then I soldered the LED wires in place. At first I got a short between the – Driver to LED wire and + on the noctigon. I added kapton tape to the top of the driverboard and solved the shortcut. – touched the copper heatsink and caused a short somehow Question

Thereafter I reinstalled the GITD tape, originally installed in the DQG.
The light switches off! All works very nice. I love this firmware! Thanks Tom E, awesome job Beer

The moon on level 1 I really like. It is so low! With the UT-210E I can allmost not even read the difference in moon vs off(parasitic drain).
Makes it a nice locator light at night. Lowest moon mode I’ve ever seen, love it.
In the picture below, moon is actually on!

I changed the temperature stepdowm delay in Narsil to 1 Sec. The light is way more managable now. However at 13.5A on a 30Q battery it still gets too hot to hold in about 10 seconds.
I’ve put a 3400mAh protected NCR18650B in it. Now its way more managable, safer and has higher capacity. And still stupidly bright Facepalm

I use mode 4 with changed setting (moon+) 1-10-35-100.

@Firelight2, the thermal paste did solve the desolder problem. Now with 20AWG wire as well, I seems very oke.

So no need for other solder I guess.

Mission accomplished!
(for now Facepalm )

giorgoskok
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Great Smile I will try changing to some of my fet+1 drivers to attiny85 and e-switch with narsil !
Do you have a EU source for the attiny85 ?

ReManG
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Dutchee, fantastic write up for this phase of the mod. Really appreciate the pics, and happy it is all working for you…

Dutcheee
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You can buy them at mouser. But due to the shipping cost, I bought a few from ebay.
These are the ones I used:
Ebay 5pcs Atmel Attiny85

MRsDNF
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Nice driver mod. I admire you guys modding and building these items.

 

djozz quotes, "it came with chinese lettering that is chinese to me".

                      "My man mousehole needs one too"

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Old-Lumens. Highly admired and cherished member of Budget Light Forum. 11.5.2011 - 20.12.16. RIP.

 

Dutcheee
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ReManG wrote:
Dutchee,

Thanks for the driver pictures. I was going to give it a try with a 100W iron on the battery side contact while still in the head. Then attempt to put the new one on… One day, not anytime soon…. Thankfully the NW is a nice tint and not like a greenish one like some other brands have…

Do you think the switch could be desoldered before pushing the driver out? Looks to be a bear either way, but so glad it worked out for you on this mod… that looks incredible. Narsil and temp regulation would be the bees knees for a light like this…

Sorry, I think I missed this post..

Yes, with a tiny solder tip it should be doable.

I had to resolder the black wire to the switch while it was glued in the head. It came loose when I removed the driver to add the kapton tape. So I think desoldering should be relatively easy.

When heating the whole head as you mentioned, you might melt the rubber boot over the e-switch. Also the original glue might burn. I think its safer to remove the driver before the LED reflow.

Tom E
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Excellent job on this mod! Wish I had one of these lights, because this mod looks great for it.

Let me know f you have any flaky problems with the light - mode changes, going in/out of strobe or hi, etc. Most Tiny85 builds I had to tweak things to get it working reliably - add another 10 uF cap stacked on C1, or air wire a 0.1 uF cap from pin #4 to pin #8. Now could be more of a problem with the SIR800DP FET's I use, but probably still happens with regular FET's. Richard's new MTN-17DDm driver that supports a Tiny25 has several changes to properly support 25/45/85's.

 

Dutcheee
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Thanks for the nice replies, guys!

On the pannie cell it doesn’t overheat. When allmost burning my hand, it steps down at 30sec’s. On 35% it slowly loses the excessive heat. I don’t plan on testing this in a pocket though.. I still have to do a tailcap reading on the pannie..
It does heat up real nicely all the way to the tailcap. But the cell stays quite cool, unlike in the stock DQG where it serves as a heatsink..
On a 30Q cell the strobe is so bright, it actually gives the same effect as a stroboscope in a discotheque!

@Tom E: Besides the somewhat high temperatures, I didn’t notice anything flaky, not even once. All modes work flawless so far. Really the nicest U.I. in a light I own. I usually EDC small twisty 10440 lights, so the lack of unexpected mode changes is something I’ll gladly get used to. Really nice with the e-switch.
But if I’ll notice something strange, I’ll give you a head’s up Thumbs Up

Edit: Tom E just made clear there is not thermal stepdown in Narsil, so the heat has nothing to do with any flaw in the driver or Narsil. It actually performs 100% in a super hot light Thumbs Up

Tom E
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That's all good then. I've had the same luck with a few drivers converted to 85's, but more recently, I just do the cap mods, not wanting to take a chance. The FET tused is a big factor in this.

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