What did I break?

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TyBreaker
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What did I break?

Hey guys,

I need a little bit of help… I was just working on my second Ultrafire F13; simply seeing if a different centering ring would make a nicer beam pattern. I had already swapped the emitter wire to Out+ and removed next mode memory with the pencil trick. Everything was great. However, when I was playing with the focus, I left the light on and started unscrewing the head, to see if it would change the pattern. I unscrewed too far, and the light went out, I screwed it back down tight and it came back on. After this, I had no more modes and the light output is now weak. I unscrewed the head and could smell burning. However, I can’t figure out what I fried… Could anyone help me out judging by the picture below? Is this recoverable?

I hate to admit that I must have done something similar to my first F13 I bought a couple months ago, but on that one, I did copper braided springs, thicker gauge wires, and then did the Out+ mod. I figured I’d messed up the board, because it was my first time soldering. Now that I’ve caused a similar problem, I’m not sure what it is that I keep doing wrong. (I copper braided, wire swapped and resistor modded a Courui Big Head (even touched the metal reflector to the wire solder a few times and didn’t have any of the problems I’m having with the F13’s).

Thanks for any and all help!!

ImA4Wheelr
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Hi TyBreaker.  The top left resistor (near the notch in the driver board) looks like it might be fried.  When you magnify it, does it appear discolored?  You can measure resistance with a DMM to test.  May have to remove from board to do though.

Antenne
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At which part of the head did you do the unscrewing? At the battery tube (that would have absolutely no influence on the beam) or at the top part above the fins? If you unscrew the stock light at the top (or bezel?) the star with the emitter will be no longer pressed down and become loose. It may overheat very fast. I have an Ultrafire SH-98 from dx.com (a sipik SK-68 clone for 18650) and the star had bad contact with the pill (some shavings from the drilled holes under it and the screwed ring was loose, too) – it fried after I left it on high for a little longer. Now only half of the XML emitter lights up, very dim, very bluish… Will replace it as soon as I’ve got the ordered thermal paste.

Zanders
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Maybe you shorted one of the two soldering on the led board against the reflector when you unscrewed it.

TyBreaker
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ImA4Wheelr wrote:

Hi TyBreaker.  The top left resistor (near the notch in the driver board) looks like it might be fried.  When you magnify it, does it appear discolored?  You can measure resistance with a DMM to test.  May have to remove from board to do though.

That resistor might look a little discolored from a me putting pencil lead on it (I know that’s not the one to bridge, I was just seeing if it would do anything) Let me wipe it off and see if I can get another pic. The magnifying glass that came with my helping hands doesn’t seem to magnify enough for me to really get a good look at each resistor….

I do have one spare resistor I could try swapping it out for, just to see if it makes a difference. Thanks for taking a look!

TyBreaker
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Antenne wrote:
At which part of the head did you do the unscrewing? At the battery tube (that would have absolutely no influence on the beam) or at the top part above the fins? If you unscrew the stock light at the top (or bezel?) the star with the emitter will be no longer pressed down and become loose. It may overheat very fast. I have an Ultrafire SH-98 from dx.com (a sipik SK-68 clone for 18650) and the star had bad contact with the pill (some shavings from the drilled holes under it and the screwed ring was loose, too) – it fried after I left it on high for a little longer. Now only half of the XML emitter lights up, very dim, very bluish… Will replace it as soon as I’ve got the ordered thermal paste.

I should have been more clear. I was unscrewing the bezel (above the fins) and I had the stock centering ring on. I didn’t think I’d short anything because of the ring preventing the reflector from getting too close to the soldered wires. I do see a few nicks in the threading where the anodizing is scratched off. Not sure if that would make contact with anything its not supposed to… Oh, and I only turned the light on for a split second, so I don’t think the emitter had time to overheat.

Sirius9
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I think that you unscrew the bezel enough for emitter to move a bit and + contact probably touched reflector!
In my experience usually that 3 legged component near the mcu burns first but in my case it usually have burning hole in it Big Smile

 

Zanders
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Looked at mine and the holes where the wires goes up to the led are pretty sharp. Can the led board have turned with the reflector and cut the wire to ground then?

TyBreaker
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Alright, I had to break out the better camera to get this pic. I rubbed the pencil lead off too. You can click the image to see the full size. I don’t really see any burn marks, at least none that are obvious to me…

TyBreaker
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Zanders wrote:
Looked at mine and the holes where the wires goes up to the led are pretty sharp. Can the led board have turned with the reflector and cut the wire to ground then?

Good suggestion. I took a look and I don’t see any stripped insulation.

totilde
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you are tybreaker! what did you expect! (sorry, I hope you get to repair it, but had to say it)

Mooooooo

TyBreaker
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Sirius9 wrote:
I think that you unscrew the bezel enough for emitter to move a bit and + contact probably touched reflector! In my experience usually that 3 legged component near the mcu burns first but in my case it usually have burning hole in it Big Smile

I think you might be right Sirius9. Since the star had no thermal paste under it, it could have lifted right up and touched the reflector. I should have used Kapton tape….I just got some in the mail a couple days ago. Since I wasn’t really modding anything, I didn’t think to use it… I just wish I could tell what I broke so I could replace it, rather than buying a whole new driver. (Now I need two!! :_( )

Anyone know if you can bypass that three legged component? I have no idea what it does.

TyBreaker
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totilde wrote:
you are tybreaker! what did you expect! (sorry, I hope you get to repair it, but had to say it)

Hahaha! And that’s why I love these cheap lights! I don’t feel as bad when I ruin them :bigsmile:

Zanders
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My red wire is on the other + next to the blue. Maybe there is som juice in there Smile

TyBreaker
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^ mine was connected to that one too when I first got it. By connecting to the other location, I went from 1.6 amps to 2.2 at the tail (using unmodded dmm). It worked perfectly with that and the pencil mod.

WarHawk-AVG
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Might have shorted the emitter solder points to the reflector, usually when you loose all modes and stuff get’s hot it’s running direct drive

Zanders
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TyBreaker wrote:
^ mine was connected to that one too when I first got it. By connecting to the other location, I went from 1.6 amps to 2.2 at the tail (using unmodded dmm). It worked perfectly with that and the pencil mod.

Ok. I Just tested mine, messured tail cap 1,7A and took it apart. Haven´t decide what to do with it yet. I have done one reflector short cut and on that one it was the 3 leged mos fet that went to haven. Learning by misstakes Smile
ImA4Wheelr
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Wow, that is some picture.  Really great macro shot.  Wish I could take pics like that.

I'm with you. Nothing obvious appearance wise on the driver.  Of course that doesn't mean the more complex components didn't fail.  Have you verified the tail cap switch is still working?  You know, connecting with a screw driver or paper clip.

You could totally by pass the driver to make sure everything works.  DD with one cell won't hurt an xml/xml2 on copper.

EDIT: of course be careful in case you have a short somewhere.  You want to be able to disconnect the cell real fast if needed.

wight
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Do you own a DMM? I will help you troubleshoot if are willing to take some measurements.

Also, please post a macro of the LED emitter.

Still fine, still on a break. One day I’ll catch up with you folks! previous wight catchup Wink
list of my drivers & variants (A17DD, FET+1 stuff, WIP stuff, etc)

TyBreaker
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ImA4Wheelr wrote:

Wow, that is some picture.  Really great macro shot.  Wish I could take pics like that.

I’m with you. Nothing obvious appearance wise on the driver.  Of course that doesn’t mean the more complex components didn’t fail.  Have you verified the tail cap switch is still working?  You know, connecting with a screw driver or paper clip.

You could totally by pass the driver to make sure everything works.  DD with one cell won’t hurt an xml/xml2 on copper.

EDIT: of course be careful in case you have a short somewhere.  You want to be able to disconnect the cell real fast if needed.

Thanks ImA4Wheelr, its not a true DSLR, its one of those fancy digital cameras that just look one Smile I’m actually not familiar with bypassing the tail in that manner. Is this the same as using a DMM to touch the battery and the side of the battery tube? Do I just lay a screwdriver across the battery and tube?

I did a bit more playing last night, seeing if I could fix my other F13 by removing what looked like a bad resistor and using a piece of paperclick to bridge the connection. It ended up making no difference… That one pulls only .04-ish amps…

When I finished messing with that one I put *this *one back together. (I’m going to confuse you guys…) But now, I get no light!! Ugh.. The tail cap and tube works fine on the other light, so I don’t think anything is messed up there. (This light, was pulling 1.2 amps with the single mode before it stopped working).

TyBreaker
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wight wrote:
Do you own a DMM? I will help you troubleshoot if are willing to take some measurements.

Also, please post a macro of the LED emitter.

Hi Wight, thanks for the offer; I appreciate it. Even if I did fry something to the point of no return, I’ll sure learn alot from you guys. Here’s the emitter (click for full size):

kwarwick
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The LED has twisted counter clockwise on the MCPCB. Notice the traces under the LED are showing at an angle? That’s definitely a problem!

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kwarwick wrote:
The LED has twisted counter clockwise on the MCPCB. Notice the traces under the LED are showing at an angle? That’s definitely a problem!

Yep, looks like a classic case of an overheated led that’s melted it’s own solder and shifted while you unscrewed the reflector. Best to never unscrew the bezel on cheap lights while they are on. Other than that the emitter looks ok, so it might still be functional. You could try to reflow the led back into place…or just ditch it and get a new one on a nice copper MCPCB. Smile

Sirius9
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Mystery solved Smile

 

ImA4Wheelr
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I agree with kwarwick and LH.  The emitter's thermal pad is probably shorting the + and - pads on the base.  Easy to fix.  Just remove the base from the light and heat it until the solder melts.  It will likely reorient on its own, but you may need to nudge it.  A hot air gun from underneath is my preferred method because you can remove the heat instantly (less heat stress).  If you have a copper base, this is a good time to upgrade the base.

I agree with LinusHofmann that the emitter is probably fine.  You can test it with your DMM after the base cools.

 

TyBreaker wrote:

Do I just lay a screwdriver across the battery and tube?

Yes, you got it.

 

EDIT: Looking closely at your emitter pic reveals a potential problem.  It looks like there is excess solder on the + and - pads under the emitter.  It looks like the emitter's thermal pad may not be in contact with the thermal pad on the base.  That would have caused the unsoldering that you experienced.

wight
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Good job folks. This is a perfect example of the importance of showing pictures.

That said, who knows whether the emitter being spun is the only problem at this point.

OP – You haven’t mentioned an intention to add thermal paste under the star. You must do that. Besides that, I’d go with the suggestions above to reflow. Take a look at this video to get some ideas. Old-Lumens – How to reflow a led onto a star As ImA4Wheelr suggested, you may want to fully remove the LED from the star, wipe the star clean, add solder again, and then put the LED back.

Still fine, still on a break. One day I’ll catch up with you folks! previous wight catchup Wink
list of my drivers & variants (A17DD, FET+1 stuff, WIP stuff, etc)

TyBreaker
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Wow, I must not have paid close enough attention to the led when i first opened it. I assumed the led was like that when I got it! Thought it was just horribly centered.

Also, I was under the assumption that as long as the led was soldered to the center, it would work. ( I’ve never reflowed, but I have a butane hot air blower that I might be able to use to put it back in place)

Wight, I put thermal paste under the star of my other f13. However, I didn’t put any under this one yet…I’ll do that too and immediately from now on with all my lights.

Actually, what I’ll do is grab an xml2 on copper and put it in. I’ll put thermal paste under the star as well and report back. Thanks everyone!!

TyBreaker
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Alright… used a bargain bin MTNElectronics XM-L2 on noctigon, upgraded to 22 gauge wires, added thermal paste under star and added kapton tape to reflector.


AND?!?

And….My LED lights up again!!
But….back to single mode, 1.1 amps at tail. Guess it’s pointing to the driver being the problem again? Maybe I need to start looking for a new one?

wight
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Yes. I’ve just considered which measurements to take, but there’s not much to do here. Almost certainly either the modes IC (LAKm) or the MOSFET (APM9435) is damaged.

Short Pin 4 to GND. Here is how to do pin numbering – http://www.evilmadscientist.com/2010/basics-finding-pin-1/

If shorting Pin 4 to GND does not increase current it is most likely that the MOSFET is damaged. If shorting that way increases current then you’ve upgrades your 1-mode flashlight to a higher drive current – the modes IC is probably dead.

Still fine, still on a break. One day I’ll catch up with you folks! previous wight catchup Wink
list of my drivers & variants (A17DD, FET+1 stuff, WIP stuff, etc)

Antenne
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But you get (probably) the same result (1 Mode) when you overdue the pencil trick mod on the capacitor. Cleaning the C will bring it back to normal if nothing else is damaged.

wight
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Antenne wrote:
But you get (probably) the same result (1 Mode) when you overdue the pencil trick mod on the capacitor. Cleaning the C will bring it back to normal if nothing else is damaged.
In that case the “1 mode” should be high, yes? OP does not appear to be getting ‘high’..

TyBreaker can you clarify? Has your flashlight been brighter than this at some point?

Still fine, still on a break. One day I’ll catch up with you folks! previous wight catchup Wink
list of my drivers & variants (A17DD, FET+1 stuff, WIP stuff, etc)

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