My first Mod, SK68 w/dedome XP-G2 and BLF driver

9 posts / 0 new
Last post
ackattacker
Offline
Last seen: 5 years 8 months ago
Joined: 01/14/2015 - 13:19
Posts: 21
Location: Boston, MA
My first Mod, SK68 w/dedome XP-G2 and BLF driver

Not much of a unique mod, and I didn’t take many pictures, but I suppose some people might be interested in the results. By way of background, I’ve been a lurker here for a while and have a modest collection of flashlights but recently started to become more active. I bought 4 SK68 3 mode clones a little bit ago, out of curiosity, and found them very useful as cheap glovebox lights and surprisingly also for doing my aircraft walkarounds (I fly Airbus A320’s for a living). Typically I’d been using a 4 year old Fenix TK15 for the walkaround, since it throws a fair amount of light and can reach the vertical stabilizer. My typical small EDC lights don’t work well for that. But it’s a bit heavy, the SK68 is much more convenient and the zoom is very intuitive and I can walk around adjusting the zoom to what I’m looking at instead of adjusting the brightness. It works surprisingly well for that application, and short runtime is no problem since a typical walkaround only lasts a few minutes.

But… it has a horrible blue tint, and the 3-mode “random mode memory” is annoying. So… I decided to mod!

I bought a 15mm SK68 driver and dedomed XP-G2 R5 1A on aluminum 16mm MCPCB from MTN electronics. Standard Nlite firmware. I also ordered a glass lens to replace the plastic one but it’s still on the slow boat from China…

Anyway removal and replacement of the stock driver and LED was relatively straightforward. Driver came out easily, getting the LED board required some careful pounding out of the aluminum “reflector”. Sand down the driver to a snug fit, seat it, solder up the leads to the new MCPCB, and put everything all back together. On the driver I closed up star 4 since I don’t like mode memory, and left it as simple L/M/H ascending. Had a bit of a scare when initially it wouldn’t turn on, ended up being that I hadn’t made a good ground connection to the driver. A little more sanding and seating and I got a much better ground. Also applied a little Arctic Silver to the MCPCB while I was at it.

Anyway, the results:

You probably all know what a SK68 looks like:

Here are the results fully zoomed in, modded light on the left running an Efest 16500 battery (yes it fits), stock light on the right running a Trustfire 14500:

Not really happy with the artifacts around the LED, it does look a lot better if you “soften” the focus a bit. I may go back and mask off the LED and paint the surrounding black. Obviously the hot spot is a little wider, even so peak beam intensity is up. I measure 14.7k Lux at 1 meter, vs. 11.7k Lux stock. And a much nicer tint.

Zoomed out:

dchomak
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 5 months ago
Joined: 03/17/2012 - 20:10
Posts: 4122
Location: Connecticut

I just put an XP-G2 in a SK68. I like it a lot and now is my new EDC.
I didn’t dedome it though, I have yet to try that.

This is fun isn’t it?
I remember telling friends years ago when I first got interested in building and hopping up computers. It’s cheaper than hopping up cars, and you don’t skin your knuckles nor get your hands dirty. Smile

ackattacker
Offline
Last seen: 5 years 8 months ago
Joined: 01/14/2015 - 13:19
Posts: 21
Location: Boston, MA

I’ve never been able to resist “souping up” all my stuff, including cars, computers, phones. Kinda like Al from Home Improvement, “I rewired it”.

I settled on the dedome after doing a lot of lurking and reading on the forums, someone had done a fair amount of experimentation and settled on that as the best combo. I didn’t want too diffuse of a hot spot. The whole point was to clearly light up on the tail of an aircraft 42 feet in the air. Now it throws better than my Fenix TK15, and is less than half of the size and weight. Curious what your experience with the domed XP-G2 is.

I don’t think I’ll EDC my SK68, not the best pocket carry IMHO. I have a very slim Eagletac D25A for that.

dchomak
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 5 months ago
Joined: 03/17/2012 - 20:10
Posts: 4122
Location: Connecticut

When I use mine, it is almost always in flood mode. There is no need for the zoom usually. I have a cheap 1 mode ’68 that had a very cheap emitter initially. Of course it came with the plastic lens and they always scratch up in my pocket.
It seems I should try the dedome. I know that would be interesting.

MRsDNF
MRsDNF's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: 12/22/2011 - 21:18
Posts: 13473
Location: A light beam away from the missus in the land of Aus.

Well done on the mod. Theres nothing like a custom light to do your job better. Whats next on the agenda? A few hot rod mods on the A320? Laughing

 

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.

 

Cereal_killer
Cereal_killer's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 11 months ago
Joined: 07/22/2013 - 13:10
Posts: 4005
Location: Ohio

The image will sharpen up if you unscrew the bezel slightly, because of the thicker MCPCB the LED is now closer to the lens so you’re not getting to full focus. That won’t fix the artifacts but it will sharpen the lines of the projected image back up.

To take care of those lines you would have to remove the remaining trace amounts of silicone. Did you gasoline dedome it? Did you try to clean the remnants off? I’ve been slowly going over all my zoomies (a Z1, a TF26650 and several SK98’s and Aleto N8’s) and blacking them out inside the head with a $.98 can of flat black spray paint. I use a single square I cut off a piece of reel strip that an XP-L came in to “mask” off the LED (I have been meaning to post pics of this, I’ll do that in the morning).

 RIP  SPC Joey Riley, KIA 11/24/14. Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.

PyTech
PyTech's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 week 2 days ago
Joined: 09/01/2012 - 06:21
Posts: 635
Location: Highland, California. USA

Hey welcome to the forum. Coincidentally my first mod was the same exact setup, sk68 clone with a de-domed xp-g2, stock driver though. Didn’t care for the green tint that much. thx for sharing.

-Sean

djozz
djozz's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 hour 3 min ago
Joined: 09/07/2012 - 17:04
Posts: 18073
Location: Amsterdam

Nice mod! I can see that the tint is way better now Smile As C_K said, you can unscrew the bezel a bit for better focus, I put a thick o-ring there and screw the bezel tight against it. How nice that a 16500 fits, that gives a bit better runtime Smile

ackattacker
Offline
Last seen: 5 years 8 months ago
Joined: 01/14/2015 - 13:19
Posts: 21
Location: Boston, MA

I bought the mcpcb already dedomed, not sure how Richard does it. I may try the mask and spray paint trick to get rid of the artifacts. I bought the aluminum MCPCB specifically because it’s thinner than the copper one and would throw off the focus less, I’m actually pretty happy with the focus. I don’t want to see a 100% perfect projection of the die, I think it distracts from what you are trying to look at and doesn’t make it any brighter. Right now it’s just soft enough that it’s a single hotspot and not a “bat signal”.

Yeah the 16500 is a nice bonus. I’m pulling 1.75 amps from the tailcap, so 1200mah should give me roughly 40 minutes on high. Not going to test it though, I don’t have that much faith in the heat sinking, such as it is.