Autozone AA Mod (now 14500) with pics/beamshots

if you're not familiar w/ this light, see here for pics and discussion

I started by measuring current to stock emitter w/ alkaline AA I got a measly ~40ma. Same measurement for the 'new' emitter (P4 left over from B&D Flex 360 mod). It was brighter, but disappointing.

So, I measure voltage coming off the driver (w/o emitter connected) I got 5V for alkaline and 5V for 14500.

Measured current to new emitter w/ 14500 and got >500ma, so I decided to go ahead...

This was a pretty easy mod. I used a 1/2" copper pipe cap. Cost, 68 cents.

It slides into some of the lights easily, w/ just a little friction, others have some raised edges on the inside, almost like threads, and would just need a few swipes w/ sandpaper for a good fit.

The flat side was slightly dome shaped. A few taps w/ a hammer fixed that. Next, a little bit of filing to make it completely flat for good contact.

Then I drilled two holes for the emitter leads. Soldered them on, put a drop of thermal compound under the emitter plate, held it against the copper while I put a blob of hot glue on the inside (probably not a great choice...meh).

I took the reflector and cut the small neck off the back, filed it flat and assembled the light to check fit. I couldn't quite tighten the head past the o-ring so I took the pipe cap back out and ground about 5mm off the bottom edge, flattened it with a file and put it back together. Good fit.

Took it back out, soldered leads to driver, and stuffed it into the bottom of the cap w/ a little hot glue.


You can't tell in the pics, but the hot spot is a little blotchy because the hole in the reflector is much bigger than the emitter. A bare xm-l would fit beautifully. I can't use it in candle mode now because the reflector is all that is holding the emitter tight to the heatsink. Other than that...its ok, i guess...

Done w/ a better emitter, thermal epoxy, and thermal grease between copper and light body it would be a pretty nice light, and at a total cost of $8 to $12. VERY lightweight compared to my other AA cree lights...

Lux at 18" (android phone)

stock ...........................1300

modded w/ AA ...............2900

modded w/ 14500 ......... 14000

For reference, Sipik sk68 clone on 14500 at same distance - 4500 in flood mode, 59000 zoomed

Modded w/ alkaline vs Stock w/ alkaline

Modded w/ 14500 vs Stock w/ Alkaline

Cool .


I don't know why I like modding stuff that costs $2, but I get as much satisfaction as more expensive projects, and it is more about that than anything else....

A stack of dimes and some fujik, or a 1/2" copper pipe cap and you're in business modding this light.

If you had some QTC you could stuff it in that DD one and have a totally variable, side switch pocket rocket for <$10!!!!

I'm actually planning to mod all of mine. Some with this driver to give to non-flashaholics

at least one w/ this for myself

and armed w/ your discovery, probably a DD

I have some really junky AA zoomies from tractor supply that bought to salvage lenses, clicky tailcaps and clips from and the tailcap actually fits the autozone light - sort of a super budget klarus st10 lol

I've also made a list of all the KD and DX reflectors near this size and will probably try a couple of them (varying height).

They're shelved for now though, until I finish my burglar blinder build

Wow, that turned out great, dthrckt - I remember when you started on it. I've already given one away and had to rebuild the switch in the one I kept. Nice little light for $2.50.

what happened to the switch?

I'm curious if it is something I can mod to prevent failure on any I give away...

Short story? It stopped clicking. I disassembled it and found the tiny spring in the middle had come out. Took me an hour to fix, mainly because my big hands kept dropping all those little pieces.

thanks, hopefully they'll just be luckier :)

the cheaper driver will be to give away, the other so I can still use alkys, but I have six of them, so undoubtedly one will end up DD

I'll probably try to reduce resistance of the switch rather than ditch it, but doing that would make enough room for one heck of a pill...