Hi CRI headlamp. Modded or stock?


For several days I've been trying to weight all pros and cons of buying a stock Hi CRI headlamp or buying a cheap headlamp and further modding it, and I think I need some help to sort thing out. Are there any ready to use hq driver boards that will fit inside Skillhunt H03 or Convoy H1? What MCPCB with diode should I choose? AFAIK Nichia 219C 4000K 16mm MCPCB most likely will fit incide Skillhunt H03? Frankly speaking I am more inclined towards modding Convoy H1 because it's cheaper and it has an orange peel reflector but there is not much information regarding its modification possibilities.

Or should I just buy Zebralight H600d/с Mk IV? They are nice but I heard that they have issues with thermal regulation(oscillating PID) also they use cheap springs that overheat in turbo mode.

Haven’t heard much about the Zebralights lately (also haven’t paid that much attention either).

Regarding your question to HCRI emitter (diode) options. Top suggestions here will be Luminous SST-20 3000/3500/4000k, Quad Nichia E21A (see Virence.com), or Samsung LH351(B or D), along with Nichia 219.

If you haven’t read this short thread yet and are considering the Convoy you should . Takes a 21mm driver and is very accessible to mod.

Acebeam H40 and YLP Panda 2M CRI are both great options that come high CRI out of the box.

Looks great in terms of light quality but I wasn’t able to find MCPCBs for it(they were on Virence, but they are out of the stock) and the driver that it needs is a little on the expensive side for me(35$-45:money_mouth_face:

Could you recommend a good one for SST-20 or Nichia 219?

Thanks for the link.

And the price is nice, but unfortunately I need a 90 degree angled headlamp.

I really like my Nitecore HC30 mod!
TA 22MM driver (the 8x channel 7135’s have now been populated and FW updated to 3 channel). 90CRI LH351D, anduril controlled AUX LED’s under the button cover.

I have both modded H1 and the H03.
My H03 has LH351D 90CR1 4000K, TA Driver from Lexel and shorty tube. My H1 has Luxeon MZ and Ramping IOS MCU from gchart.

Both are easy to mod although you have more options with the h03. In stock form the H03 has better regulated driver. The H1 does not even have temperature regulation and gets dangerously hot. Main disadvantage of H03 for me is that it gets activated in my pocket all too often.

Thanks. Why did you choose LH351D and not Nichia 219 D240?

Could you answer several questions regarding H03 modes? Do you have to apply heat in order to unscrew the head? How is MCPCB fixated inside the head? I am asking because AFAIK there are no screws or special notches to secure MCPCB inside. I may be wrong though. Why did you choose LH351D for H03?

I did not use heat. Used a vice lined with cloth, a strap wrench and brute force to remove tube from head. Heat might help though. The mcpcb is just pressed down by the optics. I think mcpcb is a little bit smaller than 16mm but kaidomain 16mm dtp fits out of the box. Yajiamei 17mm optics is also a perfect fit so if you want more flood or throw you can replace the stock optics.

My H03 has LH351D right now but it had 219Cs last year then SST-20 few months ago. I was able to buy some below BBL tinted 90CRI 351Ds from AEDe hence I stuck with the LH351D. Not as good as e21A or 219B tint but better than the 219cs and SST-20s I have. Better efficiency with the TA driver too (higher vf).

Because it has higher output!

Thank you for sharing your experience, that’s exactly what I needed. I think I’ll give LH351D a try then. By the way, you’ve mentioned TA Driver, what current configuration are you using, I mean what is the max. current draw in turbo mode?

TA Driver uses direct drive for turbo so current draw depends on a lot of things (e.g. battery, led vf, spring/wires resistance). Lexel sells TA drivers specially made for skilhint H03 with Narsil firmware. I think you can ask him to flash Anduril or you can do it yourself (I use the fw3a firmware) if you’re up to the task.

I am modding my H03 now and I think I encountered a problem that is rarely mentioned on the internet. LH351D is smaller than stock Cree XML-2 U4 and stock reflector or TIR or spare TIR from Yajiamei just can’t properly center themselves producing not pleasant artifacts especially in the area of hotspot.

Could you please describe how you managed to solve this problem?

By using a 3.5x3.5mm footprint MCPCB. XM-L2 is 50x50mm. Anyone reflowing an LH351D is doing it in place of an emitter with the same footprint.

I am using Noctigon XP16 V2 MCPCB that has appropriate footprint, the problem is that every optics(TIR lens, reflector) I tried is made to attach to 50x50 XM-L2 body. And when smaller diode is being used it fails to center itself and what’s worse the MCPCB can move freely from side to side with enough shaking even when the flashlight is fully assembled.

Did you add thermal paste? I can hardly remove some MCPCBs I worked on once already because that stuff holds them in place so well.

It sounds like height of the reflector might be causing the artifacts so maybe try shimming it up a bit at a time? Maybe expoxy around the very edge where it would sit around the emitter base and sand down till it’s focused?

Sounds like you need these


I’ve used some of these before with the LH351D:
Aliexpress link
(hope that link works)

I put them in a Convoy H1 and it seemed to center just fine for me (made for 3.5 X 3.5 footprint LEDs). Not sure if these will fit for you in the Skilhunt (don’t have one) but if your H03 uses a 17mm reflector/TIR, this would probably fit.

They have some with different holders (the white plastic bit) they call a “stent” but they are removable.

I didn’t, there was already some thermal compound in place. I’ll try removing old thermal paste and adding Arctic Cooling MX-4 instead. I also thought about using thermal glue around the edges of MCPCB to stick it to the metal, but after that removing MCPCB definitely won’t be something as simple as it is now.

Looks like you’re right I’ll give it a try if I won’t be able to find a suitable insulation gasket.

Thanks a lot, that’s exactly what I need.

Conical stent may actually fit though I am not sure, as it is a little bit higher than the original one, 10mm vs 9.7mm. Anyway thank you for sharing your experience, I was thinking about buying Convoy H1 for modding because H03 as a modding kit seems a little bit pricey for me.

By the way, does anybody know where can I buy the transparent o-ring that insulates Skilhunt H03 bezel?

Sorry, I’m late to the party! But if you’re still looking for modding info on the H1, I’ve got some stuff in this thread that might be of interest if you’re still thinking about getting an H1 to mod. I’m curious to hear how things ended up.

Hi, gchart.
Thanks, I was inspired by your Convoy H1 modding thread and indeed found a lot useful stuff there. But in the end, I settled on Skillhunt H03R. I bought two of them. Swapped stock Cree XM-L2 to HiCRI Samsung LH351D on one of them and maybe I’ll replace stock driver with a custom buck driver in the future. The second Skillhunt is ready for Nichia E21A mod, I already bought a custom 12V boost driver for it and soldered 4 E21As on the MCPCB (It was a royal pain btw, especially cleaning all of the flux residue). I’ll also probably solder a spring bypass because I doubt that Skillhunt’s default spring can handle the current that 12W driver draws.