Mod: (Updated!) YinHex YH-X9 5xT6 4x18650 Flashlight: Pocketable 45W Wall of Light

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Mod: (Updated!) YinHex YH-X9 5xT6 4x18650 Flashlight: Pocketable 45W Wall of Light

I picked up the YinHex YH-X9 from the Wallbuys Chinese New Year reservation sale.  For $46 (reg. mid-$80s) I got an APEX 5T6 host with five XM-L T6 emitters and probably the weakest drive you can imagine.  I've driven one XM-L harder than all five of these were being driven.  In fact, it is so bad that it's obvious the 'designers' were trying to pull a fast one here.

This mod is very involved. There are at least three different sections to it.  The first part I'll cover the driver and emitter board upgrades.  Next is the thermal path issue. Later I'll cover the optical and finally the tailcap upgrades.

But first, let's take a closer look at the light itself.

yh profile

I have to say, this light catches my eye.  I went for it based on the format alone.  I had no idea about the innards.

yh in hand

In hand, it is thick but fairly comfortable. The grip is good.  The tailcap lobes tend to get in the way.  I'd say the body is similar in size to the Sky Ray King, with a slightly larger head.

yh handle

Holding by the stainless steel handle initially doesn't feel secure, but it's not going anywhere.  It's surprisingly sturdy for how thin it feels.  This is the most comfortable way to hold it.  I use the handle as a belt/pants clip as well and it stays in place just fine.  You can one-finger hang this light at any angle from slightly upward to almost straight down.

Looking at the head, we can see a nice set of heatsink grooves that seem to do the job.  This light gets hot fast, so the handle comes in handy, unless you need to warm up your hands.

OK, now what was I saying about the driver? Oh right, it sucks. Hard. 

 

 Part 1: Driver Mods

 Behold! The YinHex solution for driving five 10W emitters.

stock driver

Count em up.  That's 10 AMC7135 current regulators, for a whopping 3.5 Amps.  All that current is force-fed into five XM-L T6 emitters wired in parallel.  The driver designers must have forgotten to do this step; 3.5A divided by 5 emitters equals 700mA per emitter.  WOW!

OK, clearly I'm not going to leave it like this.  So, I cook up something quick just to see what I can get out of this thing.

The picture below is mostly self-explanatory.  I added 10 more 7135 chips on top of the original 10.  Also, the PCB layout limits current flow through two rows of traces for Ground and L-.  The grounds for each bank connect on one end, so i added a second path on the other end of each.  For the L-  The right bank was OK as it is close to the L- pad.  The left bank has a long thin trace to pull current from L-, so I added an extra one on the far end to help things out a little.  Since each bank regulates 3.5A each, I wanted to minimize loss as much as possible.

driver mod1

For the B+ to L+ connection, there are only 12 vias.  Since my goal is 14+ Amps, This will be a bit of a bottle-neck.  Unfortunately, there's no easy way to run a wire around to the other side.  My solution, drill through to the center.

Driver mod 2

I had to drill as close to the center as possible so the wire would not interfere with the batteries.  They occupy the space almost up to the inner edge of the red ring.

Looking on the other side, I drilled closer than I wanted to the chips.  I drilled away most of the Vcc trace for some of the 7135 chips.  Fortunately, enough is left so it still works.

Driver mod 3

The comes through and goes directly to the L+ pad.  This adds a little relief for the vias.

OK, so that's 20 chips, where to put the other 20.  Also, we need some control for modes.  I wasn't ready to stack 7135 chips four high, so I added a couple NANJG drivers.

Driver Mod 4

Thinks got a little hairy here.  Each board has 10 7135 chips.  The blue generic is a slave.  I bought a few of these generic drivers from Fasttech and I do not like the modes.  They are not clones of NANJG, have a very slow mode change timeout, and there's visible PWM.  I've relegated them to slave use only.  To make them slaves (or single-mode drivers), remove the 8-pin MCU.

The other driver is a real 2-group NANJG 105C with 2 extra chips.  I ran out of 350mA chips so I put on 380mA ones instead.

I did mention that this is a pretty involved mod. 

I drive this with 4x Sanyo UR18650ZT 2800mAh cells.  These seems to cope with the load fairly well and they provide a little extra voltage which is good when dealing with these currents.

Five XM-L T6 emitters at 2.82A each. Emitter lumens would be close to 4200.  Not bad.  Unfortunately, a lot of this is lost due to heat sag.  In the integrating box, I see this as a very rapid drop from 3280 lumens down to 2870 after just 10 seconds.  By 30 seconds, it's down to 2685 lumens. 

Update (Mar 22): User dorpmuller took a similar but more ideal approach, that I will probably steal adopt when I solve the thermal issues.  Basically, five 10x7135 drivers slaved together, each driving one emitter.  dorpmuller's comment is below, link here.  My initial approach may be slightly cheaper/quicker, but I'd prefer to drive each emitter separately.

 

Part 2: Thermal Issues

Heat does transfer to the head quickly, just not enough to keep the emitter cool. There's 46W at the emitters, and around 38W or more is heat.  It takes a lot of contact to move that much heat.  Unfortunately, we only have a ring of contact:

head open

And on the emitter plate side:

emitter plate

That's not much contact for about 40W to pass through.  I cleaned it up and used silver thermal compound when I screwed it back in.

The emitter plate was screwed in with a total of two screws... I had to drill the head and add three more.  I also added more wire for each emitter as the PCB traces ran quite far and didn't appear to balance out the current well.  The LED on the left would get more than the LEFT next to it in the clockwise direction.  I scraped the traces and soldered 20ga wire so there was a little better current spread.

Emitters

OK, back to the thermal problem. Fortunately, the emitters are close to the edge.  This does help, but the emitter plate is about 25C hotter than the head when running.  Not good.  Add in the dielectric separation for the emitters and they are probably 45C hotter than the head.  This design screams for copper.  To do this properly requires some machining to make a copper base for the LEDs.  I think copper SinkPads would be a plus too. Wink

Thermal test results:

TimeTemperature (C)
0s20.2
15s22.8
30s25.2
45s27.0
60s

29.4

90s33.0
2m36.0
3m42.4
4m47.8
5m52.2

 

Part 3: Optical Issues

Updated (Mar 22)

Basically, there's a problem.  Everything in front of the reflectors is unnecessarily blocking light. Sorry, bad phone picture.  This is how it came; nothing was aligned which made things worse.

front

First there's the reflector gasket (the black thing with five holes) made of smelly rubber.  It is about 1.5mm thick with holes cut without a bevel, and slightly smaller than the reflector inner diameter.

My solution? add a bevel by cutting away some of the material.  Steady hands (locate a surgeon) and a really sharp X-acto knife (ask him to bring his scalpel) required.

shroud

Repeat. Five times. This mod added about 130 lumens OTF.  Not bad for 15-20 minutes of surgery.

Next, the lens is standard uncoated glass. Better than plastic, but AR coated would be nice.  Wait a minute!  I ordered two of the Leica UCL lenses for the Defiant 3C Super Thrower.  I still have one left!  Will it fit?  A quick measurement... YES!!! It should fit.  Dig around a bit, find it, and drop in the lens.  SWEET! It's thinner than the stock glass, but it applies enough pressure to hold things in place.  Perfect!  This gave me another 100 lumens OTF. 

So far, 230 lumens gained for $6 I already spent; not bad.

Another lumen killer is the bezel itself.  It has a rather wide O-ring lip that covers a small part of the reflector.  it also scatters some of the spill.  Tests with and without the bezel show a potential gain of 100+ lumens.  I have not attempted anything here yet.  Machining things is not my strong suit.  I could use a sanding drum and slowly remove material, but for now I will leave this one alone.

 

Part4: Tailcap

Updated (Mar 22)

The tailcap mods are pretty standard stuff.  I decided the only thing I had to do was add copper braid to the springs.  We start by opening the tailcap.  Not easy.  It's glued and the threads are mashed.  They didn't want the tailcap to turn.  I think this was for maintaining proper alignment of the handle.  In any case, the handle helped me use leverage and brute force to crank it open.  Heavy rubber gloves with a lot of grip helped.

Inside the tailcap is a plastic retainer for the switch boot.  it's nice to know that a damaged boot can be repaired.

tailcap

On the body, we have a switch mounted on a PCB with four screws holding it to the body.  Three of the screws were loose.  These are what provide electrical contact to the body, so I made sure they were tight when I put things back.

tailcap open

I touched up the switch solder joints too. 

Removing the four screws and we can access the other side to braid the springs.

springs

Once it was all back together, I checked the voltage drop across the switch while running on high.  I measured about 80mV at 14A, which works out to 0.005 Ohms.  Not bad at all for a 1.5A rated switch!

 

Conclusions

The light as shipped is terrible. I would not recommend it for anyone planning to leave it as is, especially at regular price.  For the non-modder, I hear the Blackshadow Terminator is good. Or save a little money, and get a good Sky Ray King; no handle and smaller.

As a mod host, I recommend it for someone looking for a challenging mod on a light in this format.

 

More to come; stay tuned.

Thanks for reading! searchID8935

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Edited by: relic38 on 03/31/2013 - 00:24
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Reserved

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I look forward to seeing this light and being awed by its output!

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Since it heats up fast, this flashlight is for short/mid-term use. Anyway, I like the look of this YinHex YH-X9. :hat:

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panthervision23 wrote:
Since it heats up fast, this flashlight is for short/mid-term use. Anyway, I like the look of this YinHex YH-X9. :hat:

Yeah, I think it an take the heat though. Especially if the thermal issues are dealt with. Once I address the thermal path with a better heatsink. I intend to run it down to low battery while in use (not tailstanding like I did above) and see just how hot it would get. With the handle, I’d have no problem letting the head get to 70C.

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Holy smokes! You went completely nuts with that soldering iron! I wish I had your skills, talents and patients. You do excellent work sir! So many attention to details…

After OL’s SRK mod host results with wide angle optics, I have a very good feeling about these for their narrow angle optical efficiencies and several positive comments from MTBR members… time will tell.

Even with a hot running host, I think sinkpads will help with thermal sag. Ultimately, surface area constraints will probably define the limitations regardless of whats inside the thermal path. Will this still satisfy if each emitter were driven @2A each, or reprogram the master for 3A high and 2A medium?

Most of my high powered lights overheat when running static indoors but not outdoors. Have you taken your new beast for a walk outside yet? Just dont let it off the leash or it’ll be chasing the p60’s up the trees!

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It’s -5C outside and windy; I will not have a thermal problem out there. I will be giving it a try tomorrow night anyway, just to see.
I agree, sinkpads on a better base is what I’d like to do. I have no machining ability, so it will be a challenge to make the new heatsink.
I want to reprogram for four modes:
0.05% (or whatever gives me moonlight),
20%, normal sane output
60%, long term insane output
100%, short term insane output.
I have a programmer thing that I got from Fasttech, but it still sits in the little bag. One of these days I’ll have to try it out.

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Very nice relic38. Your creativity really shines through here. Thanks for sharing this with us.

 

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Hi Relic, how I admire your level of skill Shocked

It seems Apex 5T6 doesn’t share the same driver board with YinHex, any other option to help me get rid of low PWM ?

I also willing to learn to program MCU, but I do not have any idea to start Smile thanks ~

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Nice thread and build.
Great work/info on checking emitter plate temp vs temp on the head.

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subscribed Smile. This will be a beast when finished!

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iron potato wrote:

Hi Relic, how I admire your level of skill Shocked

It seems Apex 5T6 doesn’t share the same driver board with YinHex, any other option to help me get rid of low PWM ?

I also willing to learn to program MCU, but I do not have any idea to start Smile thanks ~


Hmm, that looks like the typical driver that’s in these lights. It has a similar design to the SRK without the separate coil per LED. I don’t know if these can be reprogrammed. You can probably adjust the current with a resistor mod. I see four resistors on the left that look suspiciously like current sense resistors. They are in a strange location though, so I’m not sure. My driver was (sort-of) glued in so it took a little persuasion to get it out. Can you get a couple of close-ups of the board, close enough to read part numbers?
On a side-note, I see they really did a nice job with the thermal contact on your LED plate; they really got that adhesive on there good :Sp

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relic38 wrote:
iron potato wrote:

Hi Relic, how I admire your level of skill Shocked

It seems Apex 5T6 doesn’t share the same driver board with YinHex, any other option to help me get rid of low PWM ?

I also willing to learn to program MCU, but I do not have any idea to start Smile thanks ~


Hmm, that looks like the typical driver that’s in these lights. It has a similar design to the SRK without the separate coil per LED. I don’t know if these can be reprogrammed. You can probably adjust the current with a resistor mod. I see four resistors on the left that look suspiciously like current sense resistors. They are in a strange location though, so I’m not sure. My driver was (sort-of) glued in so it took a little persuasion to get it out. Can you get a couple of close-ups of the board, close enough to read part numbers?
On a side-note, I see they really did a nice job with the thermal contact on your LED plate; they really got that adhesive on there good :Sp

I don’t really mind output of this Apex, just the low PWM, I’m kinda sensitive to low PWM :bigsmile:

As for the heatsink compound, I dab it when the first time I opened it.

I still put a few more dabs around the rim just now when I closed it.

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wow, relic, we are certainly birds of a feather – that’s a whole lot of work to do to a light. I know the feeling though – once you get the light, and think of how it COULD be done….it MUST be done lol

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For the $46.00 I got one also as a host. Stripped all the components off the board and replaced everything with 5 10×7135 drivers, slaved. Cut traces and rewired LED board accordingly.

I really like the looks of this light.

Rich

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I acknowledge the 1-up… 17.5A wow! I’m not sure how much brighter that would be, but wow!
Edit: OK, this is what I want to do when I get the heatsink fixed. Definitely. Got any pics?
Did you do anything on the optics side to help with the losses due to the reflector gasket and bezel?
I have a small update I hope to post tonight regarding that.

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I added optical and tailcap mods to the review.
What remains is a much larger task of fixing the heatsinking problem. If all goes well there will be a solution to this soon enough Wink

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How about a good link for the lens? Only leads to a thread, couldn’t find it.

Now I have to go get some suicide blades for the X-Acto and have at the rubber. I already resoldered the switch.

I didn’t braid the springs; I use IMR’s and the thing gets hot real fast, so I don’t think I have a heat transfer problem, but the XML’s in mine are a horrible tint. Not gonna spend 50-60 for new emitters and have to reflow 5 of them!

Thanks for this! We’ve thought along the same lines.

Rich

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WOW! That's a lot of work and well done. That many wires would scare me off, LOL. Great mod!

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Old-Lumens wrote:
WOW! That's a lot of work and well done. That many wires would scare me off, LOL. Great mod!

?

 

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

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The lens link goes to the original post that has the link in it. It doesn’t matter though; they are all gone and the seller cannot get any more.
I strongly recommend you braid the springs; you will fall out of regulation quicker without that mod.
Thanks O-L, it has been a fun mod. I have some more to do, the most difficult for me; machining. Wires and tiny components; no problem.

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After read relic38 mod on this YinHex YH-X9 & Old-Lumens on the FandyFire / SRK King king mod, that inspired me to follow the steps to mod my Apex 5T6.

Mainly because the original driver has annoying low PWM that I sensitive to.

Here goes :-

Out the driver

Before . . .

After. . . clear off the original components, wicked & clean with denatured alcohol.

The Master & Slave

Set to three modes, typical Low, Mid & High, not really going high current drive, just a shy of twenty 7135 chips. (350mA x 20 = 7000mA, 5 LEDs in Parallel, so each get 1,400mA in theory, also my first time stacked it & worked! Shocked ) due to the limited thermal transfer path from the mcpcb to the head. I also did the added braid or wick wire to the springs.

Well that just about for it, retrace the positive and negative path on the original plate, connect with big wire for current. clean off the adhesive residue on the rim where the driver sit & the driver plate, dab some Dunlop glue & put it back all together with batteries in it to add some push for the glue, test three modes runs perfectly ! Let it sit overnight babe ~ :bigsmile:

Thanks to relic38, Old-Lumens as well as other modders ! Hurray BLF ~

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iron potato. Do you know how many people on this forum, if they attempted this mod would have success? Not many.  Job well done.

 

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

                      "My man mousehole needs one too"

old4570 said "I'm not an expert , so don't suffer from any such technical restrictions".

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

 

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MRsDNF wrote:

iron potato. Do you know how many people on this forum, if they attempted this mod would have success? Not many.  Job well done.

Thank you MRsDNF Beer

I bend those 7135 chip tiny pins, thin angled soldering iron tip, wick wire, tweezer, soldering 3rd hand & flux helps ~ oh ya, afterward remember to clean it with denatured alcohol Big Smile

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looks like you have a stack of space inside the head for improving the pill. Can you find any places that sell alu rod in a matching diameter? You could then ask them to cut you some slices off (I think Old Lumens did this for his Mag heatsinks – ask him :)), then drill 3-4 holes through the PCB where there aren’t any traces and tap the piece of alu rod so you can screw it all together with some thermal paste in between. Hopefully you’ll be able to get the right sized piece of rod, if not you can go a little undersize and wrap it with copper. Should make quite a difference in heat sag and thermal transfer.

iron potato
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mattthemuppet wrote:
looks like you have a stack of space inside the head for improving the pill. Can you find any places that sell alu rod in a matching diameter? You could then ask them to cut you some slices off (I think Old Lumens did this for his Mag heatsinks – ask him :)), then drill 3-4 holes through the PCB where there aren’t any traces and tap the piece of alu rod so you can screw it all together with some thermal paste in between. Hopefully you’ll be able to get the right sized piece of rod, if not you can go a little undersize and wrap it with copper. Should make quite a difference in heat sag and thermal transfer.

Thanks for the heads up mattthemuppet, I might try my luck at machinery shop to ask them turn a piece for me Wink lovin it without the annoying low PWM now Love

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My light, cheap XM-L2 version had different driver. Easy to resistor mod to 10-12A. Stock was 3,9A.

Same hollow body. :Sp  And super crappy screws, some even missing. Well secured tailcap, probably glued. Here is how I easily got mine off:

Unscrewed all four screws at the back. Put in two long screws (about 3 cm). Put the two screws in the vise. Two strap wrenches.. Not a scratch and great leverage.

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