Mod: Convoy L4, a good mod host? Is it even necessary to mod?

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RaceR86
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Mod: Convoy L4, a good mod host? Is it even necessary to mod?

Got the light in yesterday and did all testing then...  Ordered from WB when it was on sale. Even at around 25$ with coupon, or close to 30$ this light is worth the price. 

Shes a beauty!   Love Since the first I saw this light I knew I liked it...  Its a really sweet light! I think it looks 10 times better than a traditional C8, and I im a sucker for side switches. Its got a forward/momentary switch on the rear. Nice for signaling or short bursts, just like the Olight I6. Its got last mode memory. You use the side switch for changing modes,high-medium-low. Fast double click for hidden strobe. 

Size comparison vs a few other similar and know 18650 lights.

From left: T10, L4, C8, I6, D4, F8 (10 points to you if you knew what lights Im talking about just based on those short names)

Now, lets cut to the chase... Emitter was nicely secured with screws (something all well driven lights should come with IMO) Mcpcb was copper, slightly thicker (and heavier) than a Noctigon (about 0,1mm)

This, another reason to buy it. No pill. Should have great heat transfer..

Driver was nicely secured by a screw in retaining ring. See more and better pictures here or in this review.

At the emitter I was seeing 3A - 1,02A - 0,09A. That is very sweet mode spacing IMO. If you like a Qlite, you should like this. It uses and LD-34 driver circuit, no audible PWM or anything really annoying.. I would prefer 3 quick clicks in order to get to strobe, but its a likable driver. Its not like a Shadow SL-3 which goes into strobe just because you think of switching modes in normal speed.

Why mod it if its such a sweet light?

Im a Noctigon/Sinkpad addict. "A light with a copper mcpcb with direct thermal transfer is a happy light" Smile   I think the saying goes something like that... ??? .. ?  ... I doubt the stock copper mcpcb had direct thermal path. Still, nice to see copper mcpcb in a stock Convoy light..

Second, when I tested it with a Protected NCR18650@ 3,92V. Emitter current on high was already down to 2,8-2,85. On the tail I would still see 2,98-3A. Reason being is the voltage sag in the springs. I added copper braid to the tailcap spring. Emitter current with same battery was then up to about 2,99A. Smile 

I then did the driver circuit spring and changed to 22 awg wires to the emitter. Emitter current was then showing 3,01. The reason for removing resistance is to keep the light regulated at 3A longer, and also make sure that once the light starts to sag due to a drained battery, current will be as high as possible.. This is common modding for all well driven XM-L2 lights using a single cell with some sort of linear or direct drive driver.

I did not mod the driver. If im not mistaken there was an R025 at the top of it. Im not sure if Ill bother to try a resistor mod, as Ill probably just stick to normal protected high capacity cells in this light. At least for some time... 

I swapped the stock lens with a AR coated 42mm lens...

The Ultimate C8 style light for modding?

Quality wise, design wise, thermal transfer wise, price wise. I think this is the best C8 styled light for the price. If you want to go fully hot rod you can fairly easily do that (as long as you are used to doing some modding). Im not sure how much the stock driver can do, or if its got a bit more resistance than a 7135 based driver (which it might have). But if you are making a hot rod, might as well push the limits of what can be done with a resistor mod and see if that does the trick..

Id consider the L4 as a more "sophisticated premium-budget prized" alternative to a C8. A DrJones driver would be a nice alternative for those who wants to bump up the current and does not want to use stock driver.  DrJones even have a driver that combines mechanical clicky for power with electronic switch just like Convoy L4 uses. The driver compartment have good room for a 7135 based driver with lots of extra 7135s, if you make a contact board, or strip the stock driver circuit. Nice to know if you should mess up the stock driver... With one of those souped up puppies in a L4 I dont see why anyone would desire a traditional C8 light..

You could also just throw in a Qlite with some extra oomph, east092 etc, but that would render the electronic side switch useless. Personally I would not go that route...  Unless you are a bit creative and make something nice out if it...

Why did I use a bunch of time modding this light for probably zero visible gain?

I wanted to test a XM-L2 U2 1A on Noctigon in it.. (I know, RaceR86 did not swap out a CW emitter to NW tint or some 80+ CRI stuff or anything? Well id though Id try to have a "non-thrower light" with a CW emitter for once.. At least until I feel the urge to swap it with something less harsh..

Now, the strange thing.. With the new emitter from IOS I was down to 2,75A with the slightly used cell. Same cell I got 3A with on stock emitter... WTF...?

Switched back to stock emitter, 3,01A at the emitter.. huh.. Thats good, but... Where was those amps with the IOS emitter? Tested another/different 20mm XM-L2 U2 1A on Noctigon from IOS, 2,25A.. WTF???? Thats just wrong.. where is my 3A? Tested another one, this one on 16mm Noctigon and ordered at a different time..Close to 2,65A WFT???? I want my 3 amps, without using a fresh cell or a high current/lower capacity cell.. Basically I want an emitter that can do 3A or close to it for a fairly good amount of time..

Ill reflow the stock emitter and one of my XM-L2 U2s to new Noctigons myself..

Result: 2,63A on emitter from IOS which I reflowed.. no improvement or loss..

The stock emitter better continue to do 3A.. And it did! Smile 3A with the stock emitter on Noctigon and a slightly drained high capacity cell..

Lots of emitters have temporarily been sitting like showed on the picture...

I then called it a day, and went out to actually use the light outdoors for the first time.. Smile  Im using the stock emitter re-flowed onto a Noctigon.. It must have lower Vf compared to my CW emitters from IOS. Not sure what else to make out of this... I have not noticed this Vf issue with several other (similar) emitters from IOS... Some of which im pushing well beyond 5A at the emitter (even seen 6A+ at the tail with fresh cell at startup) in proper direct drive setups...

 

oh well..all in all. Highly recommended light as it stock.. Id recommend to use a few minutes to do the copper braiding on both springs.. Its also got hot-rod potential if you work with or around the electronic switch...


Time to retire my other C8 (which is my 2nd C8), because its just cheaply made and boring despite that I been using it with well driven XP-G2s, XM-L/XM-L2s domed/dedomed and several combinations... Im done with regular C8s...  They never were my cup of tea, and I feel that the L4 is just a step up.. Mmm.. L4 Love (maybe its just the new-light-syndrome? Ask my again in a few months what I really think :p)

My Olight I6 can now more easily be replaced too. The light should not be compared to the larger reflector L4. But the L4 is just as premium in my eyes, brighter, and its still got that nice feature of a momentary on the back.... And it can tail stand..

My supposedly premium-ish Archon M20XL (not pictured in this thread).. I doubt Ill use that again..

Long live the Convoy L4. Stock, lightly modded, or heavily modded! Its a sweet light no matter what..  Smile

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Edited by: RaceR86 on 11/22/2013 - 18:14
DB Custom
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If I'd seen this 2 hours ago, I'd have gotten it instead of the XinTD v4. The side switch, copper star, no pill, overall design. Yep, similar price...I'd have chosen this one. Always the way,  isn't it? lol

Thanks for the review, and the pics, nicely done, makes me want one! Wink

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It appears the LD-34 driver is also used in the BTU Shocker (just arranged differently in the that case). If so I imagine it could easily push >5A with 2×18350 cells.

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Damn, now I want to buy this and add my custom ramping driver (just reflashed 105C).  Basically would be the same but a press-and-hold would start ramping.  Although I would have to make an adapter ring as the stock driver is larger than 17mm :-/

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I think there might be enough space just to throw the driver in there and use a wider contact board for the retaining ring portion.

EDIT: Just saw you already mentioned it in your first post.

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RaceR86 wrote:
I did not mod the driver. If im not mistaken there was an R025 at the top of it. Im not sure if Ill bother to try a resistor mod, as Ill probably just stick to normal protected high capacity cells in this light. At least for some time...

Looks like some time is already over.. Smile

23,56mm wide

11mm tall

Added an R120 resistor on top of the stock resistor which was labeled 25L0....

Measured emitter current after a little resistor mod: 3,68A, 1,25A, 0,11A

(for some reason Im "only" measuring 3,6A at the tail)

I think Ill keep the light like this.. At least for some time.. Smile

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skyrider1
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I’m really tempted to get this light but I hear it’s not very water resistant.

DB Custom
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Those are some nice clear pics of that driver!! Wink

RaceR86
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skyrider1 wrote:
I'm really tempted to get this light but I hear it's not very water resistant.

 

I wouldn't go deep diving with it.. But its got O-rings in all the right places and fitment is nice. I have not checked the electronic switch though, which I suspect would be the weak point. The best way is either way to test the light..

There was a little talk about it in the review thread I linked to in OP, but I don't think anyone have tested how it performs underwater..

There are many lights out there with electronic switches which have zero issues with water.

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DBCstm wrote:

Those are some nice clear pics of that driver!! Wink

Thanks. Smile

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Yea the review thread was where I think I read some people say the switch area leaks. I’ll need to look at it again though. This light + custom code/firmware for some ramping or mode setting would be really nice.

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I'll let you know if AFIS comes back with anything on those prints... Wink

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Says the king of macro shots.. Wink

haha.. These are just simple quick shots. Hand held camera and hand held driver circuit..

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 Think you are getting  OTF with a xml2-u2 and would this stock emitter combo make a good candidate for the gasoline de-trick?

Lj

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Ah crap, the switch is integrated with the driver.  I guess I could remove all of the components of the board and glue a 105C on there, but I assumed it was a switch like on the SRK.

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light junkie wrote:

 Think you are getting  OTF with a xml2-u2 and would this stock emitter combo make a good candidate for the gasoline de-trick?

Take this XM-L2 chart, and remove a certain amount for reflector loss, and AR coated lens loss.

I would not de-dome the emitter that came with my light. It was said to be a 1A, but it looked like more like a 1C to me. I can barely rate de-domed 1A as acceptable. I hate tints that reminds me of green-yellowish puke.. I wont be de-doming anything that looks to be above the BBL (see line on ansi chart) unless I can do some tint mixing to fix it. Emitters in other L4s might be better suited... Its also a matter of taste...

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great write up! This looks very similar to the Nitecore P16 I won a little while ago, but HUGELY easier to mod (although anything has to be easier than a light that you melt the reflector trying to open). Side switch with a tail on/off switch is an awesome set up, tail switch only just feels awkward now. Or will do, once I fix my P16 Smile

JonnyC – I don’t see why you can’t make a holder for the switch out of a piece of plastic pipe the right size, as long as there’s room for a 105C in there. Congrats on your own firmware too, did you write it from scratch? I keep wanting to work on a e-switch firmware but life and other projects keeps getting in the way.

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I basically started with luxdrv and figured out the electronic switch logic. I just haven't had much time to build lights and improve on the program. Was considering a flashing service until PPtk came up with his driver, which sadly must have been shelved.

This light is certainly going to be in my next FT order.

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neat, I’ll have to bug you when the time comes to write my own Smile

sorry for the hijack Race86!

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Lovely mod thread, thanks for the documentation!

After the resistor mod, the driver is… more efficient?!

I’ll need to get this one as well… Wink

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mattthemuppet wrote:
neat, I'll have to bug you when the time comes to write my own Smile sorry for the hijack Race86!

As long as its related to the L4 or modding (the L4), its all good! Smile

If putting a 7135 based driver in there I would just strip the stock driver, except the switch.. A little part of the nanjg needs to sit over the switch. Saying that there is good space in there might have been an exaggeration, but its space..

ryansoh3 wrote:
Lovely mod thread, thanks for the documentation! After the resistor mod, the driver is... more efficient?! I'll need to get this one as well... ;)

Thanks. Hope I don't type too much.. Silly

No change in efficiency before/after mod. Input amps=output amps on this driver.

The reason why my last tailcap reading were slightly lower than the emitter amps was probably just because of the connection or something. Emitter amps is a more precise way to measure amps despite that there is a little bit of loss in my wires/connections.

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Oh boy, you’ve made me struggle. I am going to order one of those good quality “C8 format” lights and I’m struggling in between the XinTD C8 and this Convoy L4. The XinTD seems to have better and more solid overall built (screw-in reflector, driver with retaining ring…) BUT it doesn’t has side switch, while this L4 is only fall short on its water resistivity due to its side switch. What should I do? What should I do?!

EDIT: The driver in the XinTD C8 does not has retaining ring with it, but soldered onto the pill, my bad.

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bibihang wrote:
What should I do? What should I do?!

You know the answer....get both Tongue Out

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JonnyC wrote:

I basically started with luxdrv and figured out the electronic switch logic. I just haven't had much time to build lights and improve on the program. Was considering a flashing service until PPtk came up with his driver, which sadly must have been shelved.

This light is certainly going to be in my next FT order.

Johnny - what exactly did you figure out for the elctronic switch? I'm looking to find out how the port I/O is mapped to read the star solder pts. Think it's Port 15 (B) I believe. Haven't started testing it though.

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bibihang wrote:
Oh boy, you've made me struggle. I am going to order one of those good quality "C8 format" lights and I'm struggling in between the XinTD C8 and this Convoy L4. The XinTD seems to have better and more solid overall built (screw-in reflector, driver with retaining ring...) BUT it doesn't has side switch, while this L4 is only fall short on its water resistivity due to its side switch. What should I do? What should I do?! EDIT: The driver in the XinTD C8 does not has retaining ring with it, but soldered onto the pill, my bad.

 

I have always recommended the Xintd despite not owning it. Like you say, its a well built light, good parts, screw in reflector, AR lens, Qlite and with mode options, tint options. Its a great light!

IMO L4 does have a few advantages though.

Aluminium body > brass screw in pill

Copper mcpcb which are tightly secured by screws > screw in reflector

Dual switch setup with electronic side switch > tail clicky only

Qlite vs LD-34-A. That is subjective, but the L4 is a tad more "sophisticated" (not sure if its got any sort of low voltage protection or warning yet, which I would prefer).

Buy an AR lens for the L4 and its still cheaper (depending on where you buy and what emitter option)

Looks are subjective, but id say the L4 looks way nicer. See them side by side here.

L4 is shorter.

L4 can easily be modded for higher output as well, its actually easier to add a resistor or two to it than to stack several 7135s onto a Qlite.

Im probably biased towards the L4 though, but its a reason why I bought that instead of the Xintd. So far it have lived up to my expectations.

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JonnyC wrote:

bibihang wrote:
What should I do? What should I do?!

You know the answer....get both Tongue Out

That pretty much solves it.. Silly

Then you can get different tints too. ^^

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Tom E wrote:

Johnny - what exactly did you figure out for the elctronic switch? I'm looking to find out how the port I/O is mapped to read the star solder pts. Think it's Port 15 (B) I believe. Haven't started testing it though.

Look at register PINB to determine what pins are pulled low.  I used PB3, so to check the value you do this...

(PINB & (1 << PB3))

If it's 0, it's pulled low (pressed).  If it's 1, it's pulled high (open).

You have to set up the pin for input though...

PORTB |= (1 << PB3);

I think I actually may have pulled this code from Tido's original code as it had the ability to have an input switch.

As for the other stars, I would have to look at what stars connect to what pins, then reference that here...

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RaceR86 wrote:

I wanted to test a XM-L2 U2 1A on Noctigon in it.. (I know, RaceR86 did not swap out a CW emitter to NW tint or some 80+ CRI stuff or anything? Well id though Id try to have a “non-thrower light” with a CW emitter for once.. At least until I feel the urge to swap it with something less harsh..

Now, the strange thing.. With the new emitter from IOS I was down to 2,75A with the slightly used cell. Same cell I got 3A with on stock emitter… WTF…?

Switched back to stock emitter, 3,01A at the emitter.. huh.. Thats good, but… Where was those amps with the IOS emitter? Tested another/different 20mm XM-L2 U2 1A on Noctigon from IOS, 2,25A.. WTF?? Thats just wrong.. where is my 3A? Tested another one, this one on 16mm Noctigon and ordered at a different time..Close to 2,65A WFT?? I want my 3 amps, without using a fresh cell or a high current/lower capacity cell.. Basically I want an emitter that can do 3A or close to it for a fairly good amount of time..

Ill reflow the stock emitter and one of my XM-L2 U2s to new Noctigons myself..

Result: 2,63A on emitter from IOS which I reflowed.. no improvement or loss..

The stock emitter better continue to do 3A.. And it did! Smile 3A with the stock emitter on Noctigon and a slightly drained high capacity cell..

Lots of emitters have temporarily been sitting like showed on the picture…


It’s called Vf – forward voltage. Driver doesn’t seem to regulate well, which means higher Vf – less amps.
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cool.. another light for resistor mod Love I love this light.. it is beautiful light, I don’t care much about the waterproof part, because I don’t plan to stay outside when it’s rain Wink

The only way to do a great work is to love what you do.

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phantom23 wrote:

 It's called Vf - forward voltage. Driver doesn't seem to regulate well, which means higher Vf - less amps.

I mentioned the Vf right below where you quoted me. I see nothing wrong with the way the driver regulates.. There does not seem to be much resistance in it either. Smile (tested same used NCR18650B in the L4 and in a light using Qlite and XM-L2. I saw a higher tailcap reading on the L4. Again, probably due to the lower Vf in the emitter)

The change in amps are due to the Vf issues in the emitters, not in the driver. Regulation is good as far as I have seen.

 

DayLighter wrote:
cool.. another light for resistor mod Love I love this light.. it is beautiful light, I don't care much about the waterproof part, because I don't plan to stay outside when it's rain ;)

Beer

btw, no one have actually confirmed that the switch is a weak point for rain...

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Ohhh - thanx Jonny!! Was wondering bout that, if Tidos' original had support for it. Didn't seem documented in the code clearly, not sure. I looked at it...

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