Compact thrower (TIR)

I decided to do a little different review of a DIY project that worked out well for me. I don't have access to a camera at the moment but I can get some pictures from the internet and include a parts list. This mod requires no soldering.

The end result is a nice looking light. It looks like it is a matching smaller "thrower" to go with a Zebralight (same color/finish). That's how I use it as well...a thrower to go along with my Zebralight headlamp.

I started with a Ultrafire BJO8A which is a single AA light with a reverse clicky and a XR-E emitter. I chose this model because it looked like the switch would be installed in the standard way as opposed to a pressed plastic disc as in the case of the Akoray model of similar size.

I also guessed that the gold band you see in the picture was a screw-in brass pill for better heat dissipation. It turns out I was correct.

My initial intention was to replace the reflector with an aspheric or to leave it in and paint it black if it needed to stay in as a spacer. Since the pill appeared to screw in I thought I might get lucky and not need it as a spacer.

Where I really got lucky is that not only is the head easy to take apart (again unlike the Akoray) but there was also a retaining ring similar to that commonly found in tail caps. This held the reflector in place but could also be used to hold an aspheric in place.

After experimenting with zoomies of the same size I realized that the emitter pattern would be rather large with such a small lens, wouldn't throw all that far of course and just didn't look all that appealing in practice.

I happened to have some TIR optics from DX but they were 3-4mm too big. They came surrounded by a plastic holder. Since I had a few and they were cheap I decided to see if it was possible to cut the holder away from them. It was possible and I now had just the bare optic and it was now the correct size for this project. If I had any other light though in this configuration I wouldn't be able to mount the optic. Since this light had a retaining ring in the head I was able to mount it perfectly.

All the white plastic you see in the above picture was removed by just cutting it near the slot and then taking the plastic shelling a nut!

This light is a bit too dim for the way I wanted to use it with AA so I tried one of my new 14500 batteries and it appears to double the output.

So now I have a good looking single AA, easy to carry, with a forward clicky, single mode, with a TIR optic. The beam is bright, throws about as far as you could expect with a light of this size, and the beam is just a little more focused with a little less distracting spill then you would have with a reflector.

No special skill or tools are required for this mod and the total cost is less than $20.

I got the light from Tmart and it arrived (U.S.) in 4 days. I got a 14500 from Tmart as well. The TIR optics are from DX and are listed as 23 mm diffusion optics. A bag of 5 or so is about $4. The forward clicky came from Shiningbeam and is less than $2. To make the forward clicky work all I had to do was cut a bit of rubber from the inside of the tail cap button. The forward clicky is designed to screw in directly with a Rominsen but with this (and most other lights) you just use the existing retaining ring to hold it in place.

By the way, this is one of the best made lights right out of the box in this price range/style.

Nice project...

I suspect the resulting beam is very similar to my Hugsby P2 which also has a TIR lens and throws incredibly well for its size in both 1*14500 and, with the extension removed, in tiny 1*16340 configuration. I love the look of it too. I agree with you that TIR seems to be ideal for small non-zooming throwers.

glad it's working out for you.

now i'm kind of regretting not picking one up on Tmart's daily deal.

It's well worth it at the $16 price even if you do nothing other than put a 14500 in it.

And i always tought the plastic holder was just to protect the lens... Have a few tir optics and always threw away the white "protective" plastic holder.

It probably depends on the type. These are designed to snap on a XR-E with no glue needed. You can't just throw the plastic holder away that easily have to cut and pry "carefully" to even get it off.

More than likely the one's you have were designed to be thrown away. Hard to say. Most would need a separate holder though if that were the case.

Appreciate your sharing - I think I'll try that.

Report back if you have any issues. It's a beautiful light with simple mods and if you need a light in this category it's perfect. I'm still kind of excied (with myself) :) for how well it turned out (mainly just due to good luck with having everything fit together well).

I just ordered another Ultrafire BJO8A and another Ultrafire 14500. The Ultrafire 14500 fits better than the Trustfire 14500 which is a little longer but they both will work.

I'm going to keep one as a TIR and one as an aspheric. I can now confirm that you can use the aspheric from one of the Sipiks. You need to grind the lip down just a bit but since it's plastic it's easy to do. I just rotated it lightly on the bottom of a running sander.

The focal length is perfect if you use the existing o-ring and then add one more o-ring to just slightly move the aspheric toward the emitter. It's easy to get perfect adjustment since the lens is held in by a retaining ring. So if the o-ring pair is too thick just screw in the retaining ring a bit to compress the o-rings.

This also makes it easy to either focus the aspheric perfect for infinity or something a little closer.

You need to use a 14500 rather than an AA in this light to get the brightest results.

Since I like this light I just wanted to have a pair with one (aspheric) with the brightest hotspot and the TIR that has a focused but more conventional looking beam (but not quite as bright in the center of the beam as the aspheric). Both are good "spotters" for use with a headlamp.

This is about the smallest (useful) and easy to carry aspheric that is not a zoomie. The build quality is better than the zoomies and it doesn't have their moving parts and sharp edges. It also has a momentary switch in my mod.

So one Sipik in effect donated an $8 aspheric lens for this project :) That was the same Sipik that quite working when I put in a 14500 anyway!

Sweet work. Could you post a pic of the TIR in the head of the light? I've got a KL-8001 version of this light (5 mode driver + tailstanding clicky) that would work well with the mod.

I don't have access to a camera but there is a picture of the TIR I used earlier in this thread. It still has the white plastic that I cut off showing however.

If your light has the same dimensions as this one and if it uses a retaining ring to hold the reflector in you'll have no problem.

When you put everything together it will look as if it was made that way originally.

To clear up any confusion about TIR and aspherics having equal throw I have two identical lights (BJO8A) one with a TIR and one with an aspheric.

These numbers from my new light meter (should be accurate relatively speaking anyway) at 1 meter for the TIR 900 lux and for the aspheric 6,300 lux.

This is accurate as regards this TIR anyway.

Sorry to say this but your figures are totally meaningless and could be misleading to some. Just in the same way that aspherics can come with different levels of power (i.e. degree concentration) so too can TIR's. Indeed there are TIR's that are floody and those that really concentrate a beam. IIRC there is a thread around here where someone used both type is a light and compared them.

The bottom line is that your figures only relate to how the type of TIR you have relates to the type of aspheric you have and alas demonstrate nothing in the wider context. Sorry to rain on your parade but I didn't want anyone to be mislead.

all of the new Surefire 2012 hand held flashlights are TIR lens 500 lumens monsters. any of our budget lights look tame and pale against Surefire 2012!

I'd love to see a deal on the bj08a

I bricked a C3 and that'd be a great replacement.

Sure some TIR’s have narrower beams than others. If you have any facts that would suggest that TIR’s and aspherics of the same diameter result in the same lux figures I’d like to see that.

I agree. Prices seem to be going up rather than the other way however. I just checked T-Mart and it’s now almost $20 which is $3-$4 more than I paid.
They had them on sale at one point I believe for around $12.


I just got one of these from Tmart’s U.S. warehouse. $12.68 before discount and points.

I got this to try a mod, but I like it, so not sure if I’ll do that. It’s pretty bright for a cheap 14500 light. Only single mode though…