Aluminium pill vs copper pill - share before and after results

Since many/some people have bought machined copper pills lately.

Lets get some before (aluminium) and after (copper) measurements with the exact same setup.


Measurements? Doesn't sound very scientific to me... I prefer to go by how bright it feels after I know what's inside. :party:

I’m sure the weight measurement will be higher :slight_smile:

But copper adds 10 horsepower, i mean lumens :bigsmile:

Does anybody even have that test equipment, to do a proper job of testing?

What is a proper job?

If emitter temperature is lower output gets higher.

Lux or lumen output before and after should do the job. Preferably at different runtimes (startup, 30 sec, 1 minute, 3 minutes, 10 minutes, 20 minutes).

I can't measure temperature. I only have lux meters and ordinary multimeters.

The chart only shows that lux and emitter temperature are connected.

Lux is pretty much the only important thing, if emitter temperature is lower with copper pill you will get higher lux values.

No scientific measuring equipment here but would love to know the results. Need different masses of pills for the same light as well.

Just to get some info in the correct thread: Ill quote some from another thread:

RaceR86: I seem to remember that there were basically zero gain at 4,5A in a HD2010 where you compared aluminium vs copper pill, if I remember correctly.

Tom E: For the copper/alum pill comparison - that's tough head to head. My alum HD 2010 pill mods always have copper added, 2-3 18 gauge discs or equivalent. Not sure if I can ever get true comparison results - takes a lot of time, and one of the main purposes of going with a copper pill is to save time.

RaceR86: If you want to save time, why bother with copper inserts that heats up in close to no time? Have you measured any performance gain with those since you use the time and money to do it? Before and after results..

Tom E: For the copper inserts, started doing it pretty much because everyone else of note here does (I stand on the shoulders of giants, like so many others). Yes - could question it. Even the master of copper, OL, has questioned it himself - I followed that thread. I believe it helps and so I keep doing it - done dozens of mods this way, but I'm not 100% in my conviction on it for sure, just like OL. Could be the old "making the sink bigger" so it spills later, but even for that there is an advantage. I do believe in core copper and outer aluminum - I believe that is well proven in the CPU heat sinking world, but where the boundary is, how many joints and transitions there are in the heat flow -- it's all important.

I wish I had more time, more money to do more experimenting and scientific testing methods, but I do have a crazy job, being self-employed and paid by the hour (when I take time off, I don't get paid), and the main money maker for the home (wife works part-time, still got a daughter in college).

I love the idea though of your suggestions and totally agree it should be done...

Maybe we should put Dale (DBCstm) on the job.. :p I see he is loaded with copper pills and Convoy C8s. :bigsmile:

I do find it strange that so many people use so much time and money on these things that so far have basically zero proven gain. Adding copper heatsinks inside aluminium pill pills just seems silly to me unless you are improving contact area to the flashlight body.

I fully understand that many who mod, me included use copper from time to time, but that's mainly because its easier to work with. I also understand that in certain lights, its just easier to buy a nicely fabricated copper pill instead of modifing the stock pill on order to fit a certain driver or something.

But why isnt there a single person who can show that these copper pills have any benefits from a performance point of view? Yet so many spend money on them... Its not hard to prove the advantage of a copper mcpcb with direct thermal path. Why is it hard for people to find out if there are any benefits to these copper pills? Just swap an aluminium pill with a copper pill and let everything else be the same. Sometimes I wonder if people does not want to know....

Oh boy... Just to clarify, my current beliefs is with a copper pill, you can go higher amps safer, and have longer run-times, but of course depends on the size/cooling ability of the aluminum housing it's in. So previously, I felt a relatively safe amp level in a C8, for example, was 3.85A, but now with a copper pill in a C8, I'd feel comfortable going with 4.2A or 4.5A.

I don't think copper pills contribute to higher lumens and throw in the first 30 seconds, with everything else the same, and with copper stars of course. Maybe they will have an effect in the first 30 secs at 5A and higher, or some level of high amps, but this is all my conjecture without testing/proving of course. Some of the reasoning though is from test results Match and maybe Relic38 did -- the copper star made the extreme difference, after that, you could use aluminum or copper of 1 gram or 500 grams -- not much difference.

To me, this all means testing on copper pills vs. aluminum has to be done at many amp levels, across various runtimes.

Increased output with the copper is like Tinkerbell, if you stop believing in it it goes away.

In a shape like this the copper really is needed to get the heat spread into as much of the AL as quickly as possible, but in a normal pill-shaped pill I'm skeptical too.

If you want to know my experience,

No name Flashlight modified with copper pill with AA glued noctigon driven with 3A nanjg vs Same setup with brass pill + aa glued noctigon driven with 3A nanjg.

Results are absolutely same on my light meter (5 minutes) except the one with copper pill heats much quicker than the one with brass one.

Copper collects heat extremely quick, and it can be only good in combination with aluminum body of flashlight (like cpu coolers).

But no visual difference with moderate driving current(3A).

But I am sure it will work better for 4+ A driven lights...

Im just getting the discussion going. Hopefully it will trigger someone to actually to more measurements. ;) :)

Thank you for sharing luminarium iaculator. Hopefully others will follow.

I can tell you guys one thing. The main proven thing copper pill does is to decrease the weight of peoples wallets and increase the weight of their flashlights.

If I could make a pill out of aluminum and solder a driver and mcpcb to it like I can with common plumbing parts I probably would, it’s cheaper. I can work with copper in ways I can’t with aluminum and if it’s thermal conductivity allows for flexibility in shape/design so much the better.

I've not seen any real good testing and I bet that unless it's an unusual situation, you will not see anything more than a minor gain with Copper.

My only question about it not being effective is that it is used in so many applications over Aluminum, such as heat sinks in computers and many other areas. What I have been told by engineers is that Copper heat sinks are more effective than Aluminum as far as quickly removing heat from an object such as a CPU, but they are only really effective if that heat is removed from the Copper by way of active cooling, be it a fan or water, or heat coil.

I am a guard and work for Carrier. One of the biggest AC companies in the world. As their engineers put it to me, Copper is the best metal they have come up with that transfers heat very fast and it is very easy to work with in the form of tubing and fins. Easy to form and easy to solder. But again, in a static situation like a flashlight, you are SOL. No matter how fast you take the heat out of the led, sooner or later you will reach saturation and when your light is running so hot that you can't touch it, it does not mean a thing if it's copper or aluminum. It's slowly destroying the led. As far as I am concerned, I can go read on-line and see that Copper transfers heat almost twice as quickly as Aluminum, so, fo me, it's a no brainer. Along with that, it has a higher density than aluminum, so it holds more heat than the same sized piece of Aluminum. That's good enough for me and I don't need a lot of tests.

I understand you do need them and I do not disagree in your questioning. I hope you find your answers.

I would think that in order to do a good test, you would need two pieces of heat sink, the same exact size and use a constant current power supply to the leds, so they were powered exactly the same and that way batteries would not figure into the equation.

Anyhow, no matter what, I will still use Copper, because I love the look and feel of copper and for hand work, it's easy to use, because it can be shaped and soldered. I can't do that with Aluminum.

For most people, it's more likely that just using a copper star for your led is plenty sufficient and all that Copper is most likely overkill.

The best performing CPU heatsinks have a copper core to spread the heat evenly throughout, and aluminum fins. There isn't one type of metal that's best for everything.

I've been thinking copper pills aren't very effective either. They conduct heat very well, but in a pill the heat doesn't travel far. When my flashlights get warm, they only get warm around the pill. What if copper was used to conduct the heat over a broader area? I'm not sure what light I'll use yet, but eventually I want to build a light with copper strips to carry heat elsewhere in the flashlight.

The issue is that AL (or even brass) conducts heat better than the outside of the light radiates heat into the environment. The limitation will always be the AL-air boundary, not any of the internal parts (as long as it's designed and put together at least semi-correctly).