Interested in starting to build my own lights, where to start, what to get?

Im thinking more along the flashlight innard stuff like drivers, pads with LED’s, switches, lenses and so forth.
I guess lenses and reflectors arent a problem, every chinese flashlight retailer sells them togethter with switches and orings, but quality drivers and LED’s arent as widely available, especially if one is looking for some special drivers.
Thats at least my opinion.

The rest I can get locally, agree about that, even if paying few euros more, I have it all in my hands instantly or within 2 days while ordering from China is two weeks at best, usually a month.

What do you mean by “transparent soldering paste” ?
One of the main things that will make you love or hate modding is your soldering setup. If you use a terrible under/overheating iron and cheap or lead-free solder, you’re going to hate it immediately. I highly recommend getting a good soldering iron/station (~$35) and quality solder. Use the search box to find threads about recommended solder, but Kester and MG 63/37 are usually some of the best.

When you have replaced drivers/leds, etc, then you will have some spares to practice on.

I started out practicing re-flowing with old leds that I had blown, just to get the feel of it.

Rosin is that transparent stuff Im talking about :D!

Yeah, been using old iron and its far from perfect, have new one, but its simple also, so good soldering station is on my wishlist.


there are different kinds of flux, (including Rosin) and you can get it in solid or liquid form. Flux fights oxidation that happens when the metals get hot, and helps the solder to flow where it’s supposed to go. I personally use Kester liquid rosin flux. You don’t use it for everything, but sometimes it will save you a lot of frustration.

I see, will have to do more research, bought it together with soldering wire at the store a while ago and seller recommended to buy flux too, so I bought one :D!

i have bought lots of parts from but also some from

When you buy stuff from China eventually you will get an order that goes awry in some way. When that happens please do us all a favor and keep your cool. Keep track of paypal time limits and use it when needed. Buy from multiple sellers so your not stuck when they won’t sell to you unless you cancel a complaint ticket. Don’t be abusive to any CS reps, it doesn’t help and is bad for both you and them. Be patient, some things get resolved quickly, some don’t, and some never will. Don’t lose sleep over it. Some sellers have reps with accounts here that can facilitate returns/refunds/exchanges, etc. Language is often an issue and even if you think you are being clear things get misunderstood. Be patient and keep trying. I’ve had some orders go wrong from different vendors but in every single case they were eventually resolved.

Ive loaded some XPE’s on stars at FT, pitty that they only have green XPE2 bare, not on star.
Checked cnq, ios, ft, gb, looks like FT with its red and green XPE first gen and one blue XPE2 on starts are the way to go for now.

You will need to get some Noctogons in XP, XM, MT-G2, triple 20mm, and quad 32(these get the center led position drilled out for wires). I’d reccomend at least two of each in both 16 mm and 20 mm sizes. If you plan on doing larger hosts the look into the larger Maxtoch copper boards. For smaller lights look into XP and XM 10 mm Sinkpads. Definitely check out the new A6 driver with Toykeepers firmware. Also Dr Jones drivers are a great option for Europe. You might find 3tronics store helpful.

Heres what Ive ordered for now:
-two red XPE’s on 16mm, 3$
-two red XPE’s on 12mm, 3.58$
-two green XPE’s on 16mm, 3$
-one blue XPE2 on 16mm, 2.91$
-three green XPE2, bare ones, 5.19$

-four neutral XPG2’s on 16mm, <5$


Should be good for now to switch emitters on existing lights :bigsmile: ?

Several methods for reflowing, which do you plan to use?

Only checked OldLumens youtube video, seems kind of technically simple, but havent checked others(put soldering iron under the star, heat it with LED sitting on top of the star, let the LED get stuck to solder, thats it).

Any recommendations?

I haven’t had much luck with using the iron to reflow like that.

The best method I’ve found is an Embossing Heat Tool. They’re around $20 new, but much cheaper used (I found two at thrift stores). It’s like a handheld reflow oven.

I should probably get a new soldering iron.

My main iron is a 30w Radio Shack one that’s maybe 25 years old. No temp control, no on-off switch. Didn’t even come with a stand! I bought a cheap stand for it and that’s what I use. Desperately in need of a replacement tip, but I’ve ended up making do just by filing down the original tip.

It gets the job done though. And I have a fine-tipped battery powered 15w iron for jobs where fine control or low temps are needed.

I filed the tip on my iron and made do but a new iron is a game changer. For reflow I’ve used the stovetop and tuna can lid but I find it more comfortable to set the star on a strip of aluminum on the vise and heat that from below with a small butane torch. Less flame and more control. I can even watch through my magnifying lamp to see the moment of liquifying. Solder paste and stencils are nice as well. I still need to get a 20 mm triple stencil.

Be patient, Don’t lose sleep over it :smiley: :smiley: . Very interesting and usefully suggestion by Rufusbduck.

Start new lighting project just by yourself could be very tiresome and tough, anyway, hope you can get through. Lots of B2C places you can buy parts from.

Guys, where do you buy copper MCPCB? And LED’s, as Nichia 219C?
I’m interested in free worldwide shipping, so basically looking for reliable chinese shop. Can’t find it on aliexpress, fasttech, gearbest, banggod, dx…do you know any other?

International outdoor store. That’s who noctogons were made for.

Thanks Rufusbduck!