A build to Learn on

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Sucker_Dad
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A build to Learn on

I have read several different threads on building a flashlight from scratch. I would love to do this but for the sake of learning I want my first build to be very simple. I am thinking a C8 host with Triples. Tail clicky Single 18650 or 18350 if there is an option for that. As far as Modes go The simpler the better for my first build. I don’t really care for lights with more than 3 modes. I wouldn’t mind a single mode for my first build. Usually when I do use a light, I have it on high anyway. On this build I would like to get a happy medium for throw and flood. This light will not be used for hunting or diving etc… I really just want to learn how to build on this one.

Here is a list of what I undederstand I need and what I am thinking of using

1. Host- Convoy C8
www.banggood.com/NEW-Version-Convoy-C8-DIY-LED-Flashlight-Shell-Host-118650-p-985101.html?rmmds=search
2. Optic/lens- http://www.mtnelectronics.com/index.php?route=product/product&path=68_69...
3. Leds- http://www.mtnelectronics.com/index.php?route=product/product&path=60_10...
4. Driver- THis is one area I need Help I was thinking of one of the Fet drivers but I am not sure what is compatible with this.
5. I would have to create some sort of pill I watched a couple videos on how to fashion one. That I will figure out.

Thanks guys. If you feel I need to try something different then let me know.

Lexel
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C8 has a 42mm lens, you need a way bigger optic and LED board

for 20mm triple you need a Convoy S2, 3 or 6

vwpieces
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For the First triple build I would (and have) go with Mtn Electronics for every single part.
Use a Convoy S2 over the S2+ as the S2 has a larger heatsink (copper spacer). This would essentially be a 20mm build with 20mm optic and a 20mm triple board with LED of your choice mounted to it. I recommend the Nichia 219c 5000K for a stupid bright light. The driver could be a 17mm Fet + 1 that has one 7135 chip.
Richard is great to deal with and should have everything at one stop shop for that light.

Some parts are getting harder to source for the larger format lights. Namely the XP32 MCPCB. Does not sound like Richard will be getting any more. While he had those you could order one and have him reflow any LED (that fits) he had in stock for free. Internation Outdoors sells the 32mm XP32 but you will to wait for them and learn or know how to solder the surface mounted LED to it. And buy the LED separate.

For your first, Richard will hook you up with excellent service. He will have everything from the host to the high drain batteries.

jr2017
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The C8 is not only too large, the emitter is set back from the lens/end since it’s meant to house a reflector— so you’d need a non-standard spacer to move the LEDs forwards.

The small Convoys are probably easiest, with the appropriate spacer from Mtnelectronics. The Jaxman E2L is meant for this, but it needs some drilling/filing due to tight spaces and the wires must be passed through the head and soldered with driver and LED already in the head. The Convoys are easier since you can pass/solder wires with the LEDs exposed, with the pill, spacer, and all outside of the light.

Remember thermal paste between LEDs/spacer, and spacer/pill.

EasyB
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A C8 with a ledil CUTE 3 optic and XPL HI LEDs is a great light. This light will be very powerful and will have an intense but not too narrow beam.

This mod is very doable but honestly not the easiest mod for a beginner. You will need a noctigon XP32 triple MCPCB (which mtnelectronics is currently sold out of), and a custom spacer you can order from kiriba-ru, a user here on the forum. Also you will need to drill a hole through the center of the MCPCB for the LED wires.

A simpler mod is a triple convoy S2. You can buy all the parts for this one from mtnelectronics. For the driver I would recommend a FET+1 driver with Bistro FW in 17mm size. This light would use the 20mm triple MCPCB which you linked to and the carclo triple optics that work with it. I would recommend the same LEDs, XPL HIs. This will give a wider, less intense beam than the CUTE 3 optic.

There’s lots of information on the forum about doing these mods. Hopefully this will at least give you an overview and some ideas about what to search for.

Sucker_Dad
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Thank you guys. My head is swimming with numbers. I somehow got my sizes confused. I was positive I had read 20 mm somewhere on the C8. Anyhow, I can work with the S2 size I have an S2+ so I am familiar with it. My one concern is heat. How hot would a light that small get if I were to run a triple setup on it? Obviously emitters and power are a factor here. I don’t want a light that I can only use for short periods. Thanks for the replies folks.

jr2017
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The C8 does use a 20mm MCPCB to secure and connect the LED, but that circuit board is not as wide as the whole head. And it’s also at the back of the head, with a significant length of reflector in front of it.

A 20mm PCB in an S2 fills the whole diameter of the light with LEDs/optics, and with a spacer (available pre-made from MtnElectronics), they’ll be right at the front.

Using a FET driver on maximum output mode, it will be too hot to hold in maybe 30 seconds. Keep in mind, you’re outputting 2000-3000+ lumens during that time. 3 emitters aren’t less efficient, it’s just a lot of power. The H17F driver has lower modes with great interface and flexibility, though all FET drivers have at least some sort of lower mode.

Convoy M2 may be a good host to handle the heat better, you’d likely use the 20mm Quad-emitter MCPCB and 24mm wide Carclo 106xx optics to fill the slightly larger front (in between S2 and C8). Needs a custom spacer to get them to the front, but I’ve heard somebody on here might make and sell them. The S2, S2+, and Jaxman E2L are the only ones you can do a triple build of completely from MtnElectronics, due to the need for spacers.

Phlogiston
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Sucker_Dad wrote:
[…] I have an S2+ so I am familiar with it. My one concern is heat. How hot would a light that small get if I were to run a triple setup on it? Obviously emitters and power are a factor here. I don’t want a light that I can only use for short periods. Thanks for the replies folks.

If you want a light that will run continuously in Convoy S2+ size, you’ll be limited to about 1.5A of current, shared between all LEDs. In other words, a maximum of about 0.5A per LED in a triple. That should get you something on the order of 400 – 500 lumens of output.

Of course, there’s nothing to stop you using a multi-mode driver that has higher modes than that. You just need to be aware that you’ll need to step down from those modes before the light overheats and / or burns your hand.

You can find more of my thoughts on S2+ thermal behaviour here (on CPF).

jr2017
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Ollie— I’ve heard of that idea being used for smaller distances, but I doubt that “pillar” would be very stable or conduct heat well considering how long it needs to be to bring the emitters all the way to the front of a C8. I don’t know how many you’d need to stack but I’m imagining more than 10! I’d be tempted to commission a piece to be machined out of brass rod in that case, it might even be cheaper than buying and modifying all those circuit boards

jr2017
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Ollie wrote:
jr2017, Oh, the concept works well enough. When I had access to a lathe, I did the machining. I don’t have that anymore. So for Mag builds, I usually use brass washers. The spec dimension is a pillar 0.200” high, 0.540” diameter. The washers are slightly small. No problems. The reason I gave the disclaimer is because I have never done anything like that with a C8. How much space are we trying to fill vertically? Ollie
I’ll measure when I get a chance, but a quick look at photos suggests the head is about as deep as it is wide. So, 44mm minus the thickness of the MCPCB+optics. 35mm?
vwpieces
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Sucker_Dad wrote:
Thank you guys. My head is swimming with numbers. I somehow got my sizes confused. I was positive I had read 20 mm somewhere on the C8. Anyhow, I can work with the S2 size I have an S2+ so I am familiar with it. My one concern is heat. How hot would a light that small get if I were to run a triple setup on it? Obviously emitters and power are a factor here. I don’t want a light that I can only use for short periods. Thanks for the replies folks.

On a Fet+1 using Bistro firmware there is a built in temerature sensor you can set within the user interface setup. Just make sure you turn off the light during setup before it gets too hot. Once set the light will automatically step down in mores to regulate the heat.

If built right the light will heat up fast on turbo. Why I recommended using an S2 to get a larger piece of copper under the triple leds. Longer Fun time Big Smile
In Bistro you can also set it to have a mode memory, meaning the light will turn back on in the last mode it was turned off in. Think of Turbo mode as an option… you do not need to use it. You can also enable or disable the Moonlight mode and in addition to that, set how many modes you want (1 to 6). I generally use the 6 mode + ML making the total modes at 7. There are also a variety of strobe modes kinda hidden in the sequence.
Bistro is my favorite of the basic firmware’s.
Guppy is cool but I can never remember the 22 preset modes, let alone get back what I had if it gets changed. Always need to look it up to get back where I was.
Bistro is more of a set it and forget it once you get it set to what you like. You can go forward or reverse in modes once you get the hang of the short and longer press.

Speed4goal
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I have a s2+ with a xpl v6 3d pulling over 6 amps on turbo with a a6 driver. And within about 3-4 mins it will get hot enough to burn. And I have rough thick hands from manual labor daily. A triple with just under triple the lumen output maybe a 30-45 seconds. Not unheard of for the LEDs to desolder themselves from the heat.

My preference is a ee x6 triple more mass to absorb the heat. But the s2+ triple parts are easily available here in the states could order today assemble by friday

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jr2017
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Speed4goal, the x6 looks almost as large as a C8! Would you be using a larger MCPCB? I’m also curious about getting the LEDs close to the front of the light. I suppose you’d use some sort of spacer, custom or improvised, like people have been discussing in this thread?

When searching for info on the X6 I found the X7, which looks more like a tube light with a short reflector, in larger (26650) format. But I think the wide battery tube might be deceptive, and there may be just as much reflector space/depth to fill up as a C8 or X6.

Sucker_Dad
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OK since i am doing this to learn I think what I have decided to do is go with The C8 format and use a single XPL-Hi. That way I can just use the reflector that is in it and at a later time, if I can find one of the XP32 noctigons I can go with a triple. I did find a source but they are pricey. I am ok with most of the drivers I have seen. Does one brand supply more power than another without modifying the driver itself? I want to get the most out of this emitter until I decide I am going to upgrade it. I like the look of the triples and if I decide later to do a triple S2 for a WOW light then I might. My goal here is a usable light for me to learn on.

jr2017
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Most FET drivers are limited by build quality and your battery, wiring (including battery spring!) and LED. Mtnelectronics’ in-house 7135+FET driver (17mm version for a C8) is good. DrJones H17F uses a smaller FET which is a limit when everything else is maxed out, like triple-emitter builds drawing more than 10 amps, but the interface and regulated output all the way up to 3.0A makes it a favorite of many (myself included)

Sucker_Dad
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Is there a website I can look at DrJones driver? Is it limited to 3 A?

Sucker_Dad
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OK I finally placed my order and here is what I got.
I bought the Convoy L2 http://www.mtnelectronics.com/index.php?route=product/product&path=66&pr...
This Led http://www.mtnelectronics.com/index.php?route=product/product&path=60_10...
This Driver http://www.mtnelectronics.com/index.php?route=product/product&path=67_11...
I had them do the wires and bypassed spring. I wanted it to be simple for my first time and if I decide I can modify this host later.

I decided against doing a triple at this time. I wanted to but I didn’t want something that was useless to me. It took me a while to decide on which led to use. I thought I wanted the XPL hi but I didn’t want just a thrower for my first light. I picked the Fet+ driver because I felt it would give me the most bang for my buck. If I am understanding it correctly I can only use a single cell on this driver. If I decide later to go for 2S I will probably pick one of the drivers configured for the XHP70 leds. Any tips?

Sucker_Dad
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It was a toss up on doing the triple. I could have bought every thing to do it from MTN except the spacer needed. that was what stopped me for this one. I wanted my main focus to be about putting it together, not sourcing parts and such. I am sure I could have fashioned a spacer somehow. Next time, for sure.

Sucker_Dad
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Just received everything. I am amazed at the quality of the L2 host. I bought a scratch and dent and there is one tiny scratch. I can’t wait.on another note, I also can’t believe how small a 20mm noctigon is. This is going to be a bottle for my sausage fingers. Ha!

Sucker_Dad
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Oh yes I understand that. I could have ordered everything for a triple Convoy S2 straight away. I just really like the form of the L2 L6 and the C8. So I picked the L2 as I could later modify it with a triple. I didn’t want a light I didn’t care for and If I bought a tube light host I wouldn’t have liked it much. I know it’s purely aesthetics but there you have it. Plus If I want to go insane and build a triple XHP 70, I can. Evil

Sucker_Dad
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Ok, so I have a couple of questions.

Regular rosin core solder for electronics is fine for soldering the leads to the MCPCB correct?

Next, do I need thermal paste under the Star?

Lastly what size screws do I need to hold the star down with? If I decide to do spring bypass do I need to get silicone wrapped wire or will normal stranded 12 gauge work? *

I am going to be doing this tomorrow with my 2 boys helping. The both show a lot of aptitude for this kind of stuff. I am hoping to inspire them with this.  

_+THANK YOU EVERYONE FOR ALL THE HELP!+_*

 

Rick

Sucker_Dad
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Ok, I got the thing all built. I answered a few of my own questions. I will order some thermal paste because of course I do need it. The size screws I needed were the ones hiding in my package. I didn’t see them. I am actually surprised I hadn’t lost them as much as I have went through the box. I definitely have to get a new soldering iron. The one I have had for quite some time seems to heat the tip only on the side away from the point. It’s a really cheap Radio Shack one and has always done that. It wasn’t a problem until I was trying to solder very small wires in the head of a flashlight. the whole thing works but I don’t think I am getting a good connection because I can’t get it into config mode. It’s bistro so I have clicked it 15 times a bunch. It just won’t go into config. Once I get a better soldering iron I will reset it all and see how it does.