EDIT:I changed the tittle as the chips stacking is my major obstacle; I know I have brought this up in the past, and you all have encouraged me to continue to try, so now I ha e been trying over a year bought a better soldering iron, helping hand s with magnifying glass tools, tools and more tools and I still can’t stack a 7135 I just got 60 ,380 mAH chips this Friday and 6 105c 200 mah driver I am down to 0 driver and 3 chips now as I have fried all of them unless it’s braiding springs and mounting a pre-stacked driver and a either already mounted on a noctigon pad I can’t do it, Iam going to be having bariatric surgery and I was hoping to be able to sit down and try to do some mods but now Iam frustrated and my wife and kids said I should try something else my wife even showed me how much I have spent trying to learn to MODD on my own and it’s just over 2,000$ she has supported me until now because I am home with limited mobility but instead of relaxing I am now becoming a madman yelling and cursing because I can’t get any light to work it has got to the point Iam questioning my abilities to do anything I used to be able to do alot of things I enjoyed martial arts do structural repair on aircraft , but now a .10 cent chip whips me every time so how long does it take ? Should I throw in the towel before my surgery next month and take up another hobby?


I don’t know about others, but I’ve tried stacking 7135s a couple of times, and it’s a pain, for me at least. The other thing that I had a hard time doing is soldering a driver to a pill (though I think I was able to do rececently).

So what I do is to do mods that don’t involve the things that I can’t do, and that still leaves a lot of territory, and have modded quite a few now.

I particularly like making multi-emitter (like triples and quads) lights.

So I would say that even if you suck at stacking 7135s (and soldering drivers to pills), but you enjoy working with lights, then just continue, but do what I do, and just stay away from mods that will require that you do such things.

Good luck with your surgery BTW. I happen to be going in for a procedure (not bariatric, but something else) tomorrow morning… like in 12+ hours, and I’m sitting here trying to figure out which mods I can start and finish before then :)!!

lj - sure wish I could stop by and help you out. Sounds like a real PITA for you... Are your hands steady and vision ok? For me, it made a world of difference in getting vision focus and enough light. Also, you must use a lot of flux - makes a world of difference.

It is not for everyone. The truth is, some can and some can't. There are many people who can't. It's not something that every person can do. It takes a certain ability to be steady and precise. Just like any hobby, it's not just the equipment or the method, some people just plain aren't able to do it.

There are lots of things I can't do any more and the older I get, the harder it is becoming. I get more shaky and less able to grasp anything, the older I get. Life is what it is. I can't figure out electronics components for the life of me, but I know how to contact other members and ask them to help, when I need a special driver or circuit.

Look for things that you excel at and by all means try new things, but when it gets to where you are saying it is, then it's time to reconsider and possibly look for something else. For all that money, you could probably just buy modded drivers from RMM or someone else and just stick with putting the drivers in maybe, or having someone here do that even.

The parts are tiny and can be killed by excess heat, shorts or even static.
Some people don’t have 100% steady hands or eyesight thats well suited to it. Many don’t have the time and patience to put up with such frustrating tiny electronics.
This does not diminish their other ablities at all.

For you, keep us posted
TomE: I have pretty bad diabetic retinopathy my right has had a viterectomy several lasers two cataracts removed along with a lens i.plant and my left eye luckily has has only seven lasers in my left eye and unfortunately I have neurapathy in feet and hands but I wear a head lamp while working along with corect glasses and all my life I have lived with type 1 diabetes and looked foe ways to do thing not not do things this however feels like a hurdle I can’t get past I honestly call say in the last two months I have been through 200 ,7135 chips and maybe 10 drivers and 8 emitters .

It sounds like 7135's and drivers are what is frustrating you. Unless that is just an example you provided. They are very frustrating indeed. I avoid stacking those tiny suckers as much as possible. They are frustrating at best. You are not alone when it comes to them.

I have probably a hundred of those tiny bastards and it looks like they may never get used now that we can easily put an emitter on copper and then just used a direct-drive, FET-based driver using those OSH Park boards. Those are so much easier. You put a little solder paste on the pads, place you components on the pads, and then use a cheap heat gun to melt the solder paste (flux boils out of it and lead solder remains). Instead of a bunch of tiny 7135's, you have one big honking FET. So much better. Do you have some plain flux? Flux is so important to soldering. Without it, solder doesn't attach to metal or flow well. Also, you need to clean off oils with alcohol before hand.

I think the biggest problem you are probably having is that is sounds like you are trying to figure out how to do this stuff from scratch with no experienced person in front of you showing how to do it. You are probably just doing one or two things wrong. Once you figure out what they are, you will be on your way. I say you have come this far. Stick with it.

A few pictures of your failed attempts might help spot a flaw in your technique. I find it hard to steady myself as much as the work. Too much solder, too little, not enough heat, too much heat, dirty tip, not enough flux, these are fixable but if you hate doing it then look at some of the other aspects such as driver design or programming. If I were trying to avoid soldering more then I would lean toward the programming side.

Getting solder to jump gaps is like herding cats. As others have said, flux helps immensely, and it is a fine motor skill, learning how to use the soldering iron like a pen to manipulate the solder into going where you want it to go. I have only done it a few times, but bending the legs of the 7135 down does help soldering them.

I can't mod electronics very well , and would never attempt things like chip stacking .

But I do make some interesting and useful things out of parachute cord . ( And paracord is cheap . )

Try knotting .

Good luck with your surgery . Smile

Took me about 6 tries, and that was super frustrating. I can imagind the frustration you have with so many attempts. Im sure its probably been said many times but here is what works for me:

1. 30watt iron.
2. Fine iron tip.
3. Bend 3pins to vertical.
4. Hold in place on board. I use pliers.
5. Flux on pins to be joined with cotton bud.
6. Clean iron tip well with wire tip cleaner.
7. Very small bit of solder on tip of iron.
8 . Brief touch only on an outer pin with part of iron that has small bit of solder… It will take on pins that have flux.
9. No longer need to hold pliers as first soldered pin is done.
10. Repeat from 6 for other end of the chip.
11. Then do the middle.

A few tricks I use which seems to make it easier.

  • I use a dremel with a standard metal cut off wheel and grind back the centre pin on the 3-pin side of the 7135. The centre pin doesn’t need to be connected on this side as it is a ground and runs straight across to the back pin which you have soldered anyway. I just grind it down flush with the body of the chip and it removes the possibility of the solder jumping across to it. I guess you could also use a needle file and do this carefully if you don’t have a dremel.
  • Using a toothpick or something small dab a tiny dot of superglue on the chip you are stacking onto and glue the next chip on top before you start soldering. It makes it much easier when that top chip isn’t moving around
  • I place the driver in my helping hands and lean it back a bit so that the 3-pin side is facing upwards a little bit on the chip I’m working on. I find that doing this makes it easier to jump the gap as the solder isn’t wanting to just drop straight down.

Have you got some fine tweezers like THESE sort of things? I find it easier to handle the chips using some tweezers.

Other than that I use 0.6mm solder and a 1.0mm soldering tip on my iron.

Hopefully something there will help you out.


Oh, I forgot about this video that O-L did awhile ago:

I actually bought one of those Allis forceps ( after watching O-L’s video, and have used them for quite a lot of things, like holding things together when I’m soldering them. I haven’t tried using them with 7135s like he does in the video yet, but it looks like that would solve one big problem I kept having, where the 7135 wouldn’t stay in place while I was soldering it.

FYI, I also had cateract surgery earlier this year on my one good eye, and it’s taken me awhile to get use to my new “eye”, so I’ve accumulated different type of glasses, etc. :(, and I got one of these which was very helpful, because you can try different powers vs. focal distance:

Good luck!


Wow! You’re determined to try so hard. I’m impressed :slight_smile: once, I painstakingly stacked two chips to a driver (burning my fingers and fingernail through heat transfer in the process,) put the light back together, only to measure current and realize that I forgot to solder the tabs at the back of the chips… Grrr!

Sometimes modding is bleeping frustrating and when you don’t have the right tools or bad eyes or shaky hands, it can be 10 times worse. When frustrated, I tend to make mistakes and sometimes screw up LEDs or drivers… The logical thing to do is walk away, the emotional thing to do is SMASH… You choose :stuck_out_tongue:

Otherwise, pics will help US help you. (WRT removing the middle leg of the chip, I use a nailclipper)

Herding cats oh that’s hilarious a great a analogy, it’s just the 7135 chips I have trouble Le with I mean I ve learned how tin the Noctigon pads I use solder I have tried bending the legs , unbent, super glue holding chips my dang fingers are so numb I can’t control them well and I keep putting the chip cattywampus so I bought the small precision tweezers I just don’t have the motor skill and then either my wife or kids will stack one with a drop of super glue with the tabs bent down I’ll brush the flux on with a brush tried solder and I get the solder everywhere and end up either shorting the driver our or once in awhile the emitter smokes. ,
EDIT:the only thing I really haven’t tried are the specific hemostats that OL used those may make a big difference and I mean I love doing what I have been able to do which has been buying upgraded drivers and installing a noctigon with a xml2 of different tints or dedome with gas.Eebowler I was at that point but my family’s spent too much on what they got me to destroy it so I walked away and Iam here cooling off and venting, I’ll try and get some pictures up later I threw most of the soldered bobbed chips in the trash and the last fried emitter out as well it is just theses little b@s+red chips I learned how to center a single emitter stuff that I felt like I accomplished something.

LJ, my recommendation, buy yourself a few really nice lights (read “nice”, not necessarily high end / expensive) and enjoy them, having spent that much money with nothing to show can be extremely frustrating. Before you burn yourself out I would stop and enjoy the hobby some.

I’m not saying give up, but take a break from shit going wrong and get yourself [even just one] light that’s perfect, that way at lease one aspect of this hobby is enjoyable for you.

Here’s another thought I had while typing that, not necessarily on topic but goes along with it…

When I was learning how to mod and first starting out I had zero interest in buying modded lights from other big-name modders here, in fact I didnt even look at their WTS threads. in the past 3-4 months I’ve purchased about 4-5 modded lights from the big name guys here not because I cant build them myself, I cant think of a single light I cant build for myself, but because its nice to see how other people do the same thing and its really nice to get a light that truly needs nothing.

Even if you dont want to buy a light, spend $12 on a 16x 7135 driver from RMM or TomE (or me, shameless plug) and see how we do it, not just pictures, actually hold one in your hand.

Version II of that as well,

The forceps were the only way I could learn to solder the chips on, because they held tightly enough in the vise, to handle my shaky hands. Other ways caused the chips to move a bit.

First of all LJ you are looking for a miracle and that is not likely to happen. Everybody and I do mean EVERYBODY comes across a hurdle somewhere with something. The most common is working on cars. Believe me, I can tell you some stories.

Does it or should it preclude you from doing something or in this case modding lights? Absolutely not! The very first key to success is recognizing one's weakness and strong points.

From I have garnered on this site, soldering resistors is a very small part of the equation. There are many mny more aspects, and from the sounds of it you are quite proficiant at some of them. I will not get into some of the things (not flashlight related) that took me years to master but I will tell you that until the "light went off" and I finnaly figured out "how" I commssioned others. It wasn't out of laziness but the savings of time and money.

In relation to modding lights, I too am learning to solder...and have been for other words I am lousy at it. Lol. As of yet I haven't modded or even built a light BUT for the time being I am planning on buying some drivers from RMM (his charges to modify are minimal) that will be configured the way I want and need. That way I don't ruin anything and still get what I want. For practice I will work on the pulled drivers. The other alternative to soldering is the use of FET drivers (as already mentioned).

There is no need to get discouraged or disgusted. Just skip that part (soldering) for now and put your energy where it helps you and gives you a sense of accomplishment whe you turn on that super bright light :)

Good luck and enjoy your hobby ;)

I know the frustration light junkie. Although I can stack the 7135 chips now but I have gone through a long way too - A lot of drivers and 7135 chips were scrapped due to the trials. But I still can’t do the 3rd layer of stacking, which I don’t think I will practice that anymore.

After I know how to do the chips stacking, turns out I don’t quite like the idea of linear regulation anymore and I prefer buck regulation. So I no longer looking for light using Nanjg driver but using buck driver, though most of them have crappy modes and PWM, unlike the Nanjg drivers which allow you to flash and customize whatever firmware you want with them.

What impress me is your incredible spirit - You are already impressive my friend! :beer:

Dumb saying that my wife and kids told me today I told them winners never quit and quitters don’t win and they all told me but you don’t quit losing so alas I’ll hang up my solder gun for a while again , and debate what I can do while recuperating from surgery. Maybe hand loading ? I ve do e a few times o. A single stage press for a .308 and no kabooms and cancel my order from fasttech for 10 more strips of 10 380 mAH 7135s.
Thanks all alot of this is soaking in now and as I look at my shelf of 15 lights and only 6 are up and running I realize I didn’t do anything other than solder the springs on the functional ons, the others are awaiting drivers and emitters that’s a pretty bad ratio.night all