MCCC MHL-010 lightweight 18650 headlamp review and teardown

12 posts / 0 new
Last post
EasyB
Offline
Last seen: 8 hours 32 min ago
Joined: 03/09/2016 - 15:24
Posts: 2166
Location: Ohio
MCCC MHL-010 lightweight 18650 headlamp review and teardown

I have been on the lookout for a lightweight budget headlamp to basically use as a host. I looked all over and the best one actually showed up on Amazon for $22. There is also a USB rechargeable version for a bit more money.

https://www.amazon.com/MCCC-Headlight-Waterproof-Direction-Rechargeable/...

An Amazon reviewer said this light is a clone of the Nitecore HC30 even down to the UI, and I think that is correct. In the pictures below it is compared to 2 other headlamps: the Wowtac A2 on the left and the Skilhunt H03 on the right. It is compact and lightweight. As it comes the MHL-010 weighs 42g without cell, compared to 55g for the A2 and 44g for the H03. After my modding the MHL-010 is 45g because of a different MCPCB and driver.

I, like many here, like to customize the light by putting in a different driver and/or LED, so while I will try to cover the basics of the light’s stock characteristics, I am focusing more on its function as a host. Here is everything you get; it includes the headlamp, strap, 2200mAh 18650, and wall charger.

The stock LED appears to be an XML2 which is very cool white. The MCPCB is 16mm round, and thin (~1mm) and aluminum. I measured 3.6A on high with a charged sanyo GA cell. As far as I can tell the UI is the same as the nitecore HC30. The UI description below is from Zak’s review of the HC30 on reddit. There are 5 modes. The shortcut to high from off is not described in any of the MCCC documentation, but it does function as below.
https://www.reddit.com/r/flashlight/comments/3ohx9h/nitecore_hc30_review/

Quote:
From Zak’s HC30 review:
From off:
-1 short press always activates the 1lm mode.
-2 short presses always activates strobe.
-A half second press activates the last-used constant mode.
-A one second press activates the 1000lm mode.

From any constant mode:
-A short press switches to the next higher mode, or from 1000lm to 1lm.
-A long press turns off the light.

From any blinky mode:
-A short press switches between blinky modes in the order Strobe -> SOS -> Beacon
-A long press turns off the light.

Taking apart the light is easy as none of the threads are glued. The driver is press-fit into the head quite hard. I had to lightly hammer it out with a screwdriver. The driver size is 20mm. The battery tube presses directly on the driver ground ring. The MCPCB is adhered to the shelf with a white compound. There is a relatively large concave area in the center of the shelf, but the rest of the shelf looks flat. Overall the quality and machining looks good to me.


If you are OK with the UI, the stock driver might work fine for you. I doubt it is constant current, but I have not tested it. I modded the light with a 5000K SST20 and a qlite 8×7135 driver with anduril. The attiny85 is more sensitive to voltage spikes so I added the filtering/decoupling circuit which emulates the first D4 driver. There is a 4.7 ohm resistor in series with the diode to pin8 of the MCU. There is a 0.1 uF cap to ground at pin8, and a 10 uf cap on the other side of the diode.

The description on amazon says it is rated IPX4. It appears as waterproof as most lights I’ve encountered. The sealing strategy at the bezel is not one I’ve seen before, I think. There is a shelf in the head around the reflector which the oring sits in. The picture is not great, but below left shows the shelf, and below right shows the oring on the shelf. The lens then presses on the oring and seals the opening. By the way, I discovered that the lens is actually plastic. The height of MCPCB/spacer/reflector is somewhat critical for the sealing to work properly since the lens should apply pressure to both the oring and the reflector.

Luckily, even though I’m using a thicker-than-stock copper MCPCB, the height of my setup nearly exactly matches the stock height because the stock centering ring is quite thick. Below right is the stock MCPCB and centering ring. Below left is a standard 1.6mm copper MCPCB with the centering ring I used.

I plan to use the light for trailrunning which is why I want it to be light, and in my lighting strategy my headlamp is more throwy. A domed XML2 sized LED along with DC fix would work very nicely for up close stuff. I converted my A2 to that setup for up close stuff.

So this is quite a good light/host: among the lightest 18650 headlamps. The driver/UI is probably not everyone’s preference, with its hold-for-off functionality. I hope this review helps some of you looking for a quality lightweight headlamp host.

Edited by: EasyB on 02/28/2021 - 20:07
Nachtfeuerzeug
Nachtfeuerzeug's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 month 3 weeks ago
Joined: 08/31/2013 - 16:10
Posts: 696

I was using this as a night time grilling flashlight but it's throwy and found another better suited for that. I now have this one in the vehicle.

I made an association in another Amazon review between a Wuben and a KLTrust light and someone didn't like it so the part was edited although subjectively, I was correct. I'll just add a picture of the two next to each other Wink

So far, no one has had a beef with the review you mentioned. I paid about $16 back then.

I did open it up with the idea of modifying but left it as is. I look forward to what you come up with!

 

EDC

FW3A, SST20 4000K || S21A, Crescendo Mtn20DD, LH351D 4000K || SP32A, SST40 5000K

Recent/ongoing Mods:

S2+, TexAven 17mm, LH351D | S21A, Crescendo 20mm, XPL HI 5000K | L2 w/Mtn17DD Zener Guppydrv, XHP-50 | C8+ OP, DD XHP-50

SP32A w/SST40 5000K | TIR Upgrades | EagleTac clip | Ultrafire C2 w/6A 20mm & LH351D | S2+, Biscotti, Nichia 219C 2700K |

Reviews:

Sofirn SP31 v2.0 Tactical Flashlight (Cree XPL HI) || Sofirn SD05 Scuba Diving Flashlight || Sofirn SC31 USB Rechargeable (XP-G3) || Sofirn SC31 Pro 5000K

Quadrupel
Quadrupel's picture
Online
Last seen: 8 min 42 sec ago
Joined: 12/03/2017 - 10:40
Posts: 718
Location: Lithuania

Looks like not bad host for modding , but it have a hole under star Facepalm

Agro
Agro's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 month 23 hours ago
Joined: 05/14/2017 - 11:16
Posts: 6801
Location: Ślōnsk

Quadrupel wrote:
Looks like not bad host for modding , but it have a hole under star Facepalm

Annoying, isn’t it? Otherwise it looks really really good.
MoreLumens
MoreLumens's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 hour 2 min ago
Joined: 10/25/2019 - 07:08
Posts: 1637
Location: Finland

I got original HC30 with SST40 and this just gives me some new ideas. Haven’t really taken it part that much, but now I just might. Don’t remember if there is hole under the star or not, though.
Thanks for pictures.

JESUS
Offline
Last seen: 4 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: 10/25/2018 - 16:00
Posts: 7

Hi noob here, how would this do with a XHP50.2 3V, NCR18650GA and mtnelectronics 20mm FET driver?

Worth trying? Thank you all!

MoreLumens
MoreLumens's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 hour 2 min ago
Joined: 10/25/2019 - 07:08
Posts: 1637
Location: Finland

Update: In HC30 there ain’t hole under the star. Just shiny smoothed out aluminum.
Driver seems to be in place with same idea. Don’t wanna break this, so before I start hammering, I need suitable driver first and some idea what led and optics/reflector to use.

Any good boost drivers out there? 20 mm or smaller. XHP50.2 6V is kinda tempting or MT-G2 for this. Love

EasyB
Offline
Last seen: 8 hours 32 min ago
Joined: 03/09/2016 - 15:24
Posts: 2166
Location: Ohio

JESUS wrote:
Hi noob here, how would this do with a XHP50.2 3V, NCR18650GA and mtnelectronics 20mm FET driver?

Worth trying? Thank you all!

The reflector opening is right around 7mm so the XHP50.2 should fit. The stock centering ring is a bit unusual in that it covers the 5mm XML2 package; there is a hole for the XML2 dome. So that centering ring might not fit the larger XHP50.2 dome, but I think a “butterfly” style XM 7mm centering ring would work.

That setup would make for a very bright and short turbo.

MoreLumens
MoreLumens's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 hour 2 min ago
Joined: 10/25/2019 - 07:08
Posts: 1637
Location: Finland

HC30 has smaller reflector hole. Something like 5 mm.

Microa
Offline
Last seen: 13 hours 1 min ago
Joined: 06/29/2011 - 21:20
Posts: 245

Do you know whether the IC at the bottom of the stock driver photo is a LDO voltage regulator?

EasyB
Offline
Last seen: 8 hours 32 min ago
Joined: 03/09/2016 - 15:24
Posts: 2166
Location: Ohio

Microa wrote:
Do you know whether the IC at the bottom of the stock driver photo is a LDO voltage regulator?

I don’t know, but I can try to investigate it based on the markings.
Microa
Offline
Last seen: 13 hours 1 min ago
Joined: 06/29/2011 - 21:20
Posts: 245

The OC7141 is a compatible of QX7138 for CC control. The transistor at the left hand side is a Si2301DS P-Channel MOSFET for Voltage Reverse Protection. I don’t know what that IC is used for.