Niwalker ES2A Dual-Head Teardown, PIC HEAVY. Mod ideas?

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mountainair26
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Niwalker ES2A Dual-Head Teardown, PIC HEAVY. Mod ideas?

Wondering if anyone has this light or heard anything about it. Considering buying it, pretty good price on amazon (non affiliate) :
https://www.amazon.com/Niwalker-Flashlight-Dual-head-Flashlights-Emergency/dp/B08Q46XG9C

I think it could be a decent rifle light with a warm high sst-20 on one side, and a red sst-20 on the other since the heads operate independently. I wonder if a remote switch exists or could be modded for it. It comes stock with XM-L2’s.

Anyone have thoughts or experience with this light? Never owned a Niwalker or a dual-head light.

Edit: it appears the folks at Niwalker already thought of the changing the Led’s in each head and one side being color, much more expensive than rolling your own though. For some reason, the website does not have this specific model “es2a” so I wonder if it’s authentic? And if the heads screw out like the other models?:

http://www.niwalkerstore.com/index.php?route=product/product&path=57&pro...

searching “es2a” turned up zero results, but other version of this light have been well-reviewed:
https://budgetlightforum.com/node/76024

Edit: I got the light and posted some pics below, will review when I have more time.

Edited by: mountainair26 on 06/04/2021 - 12:12
Rdubya18
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I have several other Niwalkers , nice well made . No problems with them . Your idea for it as a rifle light sounds very promising.

mountainair26
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I ended up buying one because the price was so low compared to the other Niwalkers that look alike. Arriving in two days and will report back. I wonder if each head screws out, and from some of the reviews I saw from similar looking lights, it almost looked like each different head had a different driver? I’ll find out soon I guess and report back, I hope the TIRs in it work well with smaller led’s than the XML footprint, like an sst-20, or if the “xml2” in the picture is a typo and it’s got xp-l’s like the others on the niwalker website.

Rdubya18
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I hope you like it . Looking forward to what you find out .

mountainair26
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Looks like the price went up to $39.99, but at $27 or whatever I paid, it's a steal and I'd buy it again just for the interchangeable heads. I'll open up the separate heads and remove the drivers or whatever each of these boards is when I can, but until then here's some quick pictures for the curious:

https://i.imgur.com/1mayc1w.jpg

Beam shot both heads on low from a yard away. Cool design, I need to figure out if there are drivers in each individual head, or in the main head of the light, and if the boards are DTP. So far I like it, except I can't unscrew the tail cap by hand, but it looks threaded. Maybe with a strap wrench? We'll see.

 

Sorry forgot to add a pic of what's inside the head where the battery tube screws in. It definitely looks like some kind of driver or something from the backside, but I won't know until I have time to remove the retaining ring and see what's what:

Scallywag
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Looks like the backside of those heads should open up easy. I’d love to see what’s inside.

mountainair26
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Ok, so I finally had a change to open up the light. I only disassembled the NW head and pulled the driver for modding potential. Here's some pics for anyone who gets one of these lights in the future or is thinking about it:

Contact board on the back of one head (led side). +/- wires with an 075 resistor on each lead. Anyone know what these resistors are for? Should the value be changed for a low vf Red color led? Could changing the value increase output or change something, or bad idea? 

NW head contact boardcontact board different angle

 

Front of head with TIR removed. The 16mm does not appear to be DTP which sucks, and as you can see, a 20mm board is just barely too big to fit but probably could be sanded. The stock board are copper though, but I tested the portion of the thermal pad sticking out from the lead and the bottom of the board and nothing, so I'm going to say non-DTP until I removed the led and make sure I'm contacting the thermal pad. The stock board is sitting on the back of a 16mm noctigon for comparison. The 20mm mtn board was closer to fitting, but no dice without sanding.

 

Bezel and optics. The optic really grips the footprint of the led and wont come out without prying up the sides. I like the 3000k XM-l2 side since I like warm white, but if I find a better option maybe I'll upgrade for output or CRI if possible. Why won't they make a high cri or sub 5k SST-40??? Only messing with the NW side for now.

Here's the driver where the battery tube makes contact with the head. The wires are long enough to partially pull it out for a visual. Once the retaining ring is removed (somewhat carefully, it's relatively thin aluminum), the driver can be pulled out without disconnecting the leads to the two heads by untwisting the two red wires and twisting it out. I tried different photo tints for clarity of small parts hopefully.

driverdriver 1driver side

 

Anyone see potential mods to this driver or have info on it? It looks linear to me, but I have no clue about that just by looking at it. Is that two fets or mcu controllers? Sorry I'm no driver expert. Resistor modding is as crazy as I have gotten with drivers. The driver would be easy to totally remove and re-install post-mod I think just but unsoldering the red wires.

Any speculation of what the driver would do if I replaced the NW side with a red led? Either the red 5050 red from KD or an sst-20-DR if I find 3535 optics that fit.

I didn't remove the tail switch because it's glued or loctited on there and I didn't feel like freezing it, heating it up and getting the strap wrench today just to bypass the tail spring. Maybe I will in the future. I didn't see a point since it's probably just a standard e-switch.

Anyway, for what I paid it seems like a pretty decent value, other than the driver retaining ring everything else feels high-quality IMO. 

Thanks for looking and please share any mod ideas. Cheers

 

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So it’s just a normal clicky tailswitch, right? What’s the LED- path? Most of our drivers take battery+ directly to LED+, and have the LED- go to the driver, which then grounds to the light’s body and around to battery-.

If you can run LED+/- to each head (I’m not clear how it’s done stock), then any normal clicky driver should work. You’d just run a pair of leads to each head instead of a single set on a normal light.

mountainair26
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It’s definitely an e-switch. The tail is an e-switch and the driver definitely has the two different separate ground rings for an e-switch.

The current path looks like the big red wires coming off the driver are the only positive from driver, and negative goes through the body – there are no negative wires off the driver itself.
Then the ground path is picked up by each individual head when it’s screwed into the body, and the pcb in the battery/driver side of each individual head is just those resistors with a positive and negative to the led in the head on the led side. I wonder if I should change the resistor for installing a red led since the vf is lower? I put a photo red xp-g3 in one of the heads just to experiment and the results were good. It works, but I only have it on high for a split second because the output seems really high. And the optic was built for 5050 print leds, so it’s just a temporary experiment. The led is on a DTP 19mm mcpcb from Sofirn.
I can’t get a current reading on high, just an estimate from the amount of light coming out of it that the output seems kind of high.
I’ll probably leave the warm xm-l2 as is since I like warm white, unless they start making the stt-40 in warm, higher CRI anytime soon.