learning to build a light

I’m not a fan of the SK-68 for a pocket-EDC thrower. Big gripe is the aggressive steps in the body, combined with the pocket clip, which is difficult to use. Also, the SK68 is limited due to the small diameter zoomie lens, which eats a lot of the lumens. It also relies on the 14500, so runtime won’t be great, especially if you are pushing it for a true hot-rod build. Larger-die emitters don’t work well (I tried to mod mine with a XM-L, but it was a huge disappointment), and I find the XP-E2 to be a good match for this host, so lumens aren’t overwhelming. Throw is good for the SIZE, but not great compared to a true thrower.

Similar design, slightly larger, and (at least to me) much more usable, is the SK-98. Similar styling, but uses the 18650. Highly moddable as well. I really do like mine, modded with an XP-G2. Good throw, but bright on flood, at 3A.

My (current) favorite EDC-sized thrower is a full-sized Convoy S2 with the deep/smooth reflector, and a 3A driven XP-G2 emitter. It’s a decent thrower, but isn’t great compared to a light with a larger reflector like the C8 and similar.

If you want a high-power thrower running from a AA-sized cell, check out the X5. I received mine last week, and it’s impressive, but runtime suffers due to the Direct-Drive-Drain on the smaller cell.

^ what he said :wink:

The SK-68 is fun to play around with, but I wouldn’t rely on it as my primary light.

There’s a reason so many people talk about the S2 and S2+ (or S6, S8… take your pick). They’re just so dang inexpensive, dependable, and versatile. An S2/S6 with a smooth reflector (can be ordered that way right from Simon himself for no extra cost), paired with a 3A Qlite and an XP-L HI or XP-G2 makes a nice, usable, throwy, pocketable light.

Would I be able to squeeze a ton of throw out of the S2? I would like to make something that does over 400 meters if possible. I am thinking of buying the TX25C2vn but I would really like to try to build something that comes close to the throw on this.

I don’t think 400m is feasible in an S2…
The S30R Javelot from Olight is an XP-L HI tube light with the same external dimensions and only does 17.5Kcd or 264m throw…

Yeah, I’m not aware of any tube lights that will reach out to 400m+. Not saying they don’t exist, but I can’t name any.

If you want something close and aren’t afraid to drop some money on a ready-to-go light (not building), the MH20GT is rated at 362m and is somewhat small. There are similar lights popping up from other brands, too (like the Lumintop SD Mini).

I don’t mean to call your needs into question, but do you need to reach out to 400m on a daily basis? Sure, it’s fun to build a light like this. But in my opinion, it wouldn’t make sense as an EDC unless you’re working outside in open areas at nighttime frequently. In which case, get a bigger light and put it in a holster.

Perhaps you could build a couple lights and see which one you like carrying best? If you’re looking to build, I’d go S2 (pocketable with a bit of distance) and a B158 (less pocketable, but a lot more distance). Just my 2 cents.

Eagle Eye X6 modded should get you the distance you are looking for, and it’s still somewhat pocketable. Rey even did a run of Titanium hosts, maybe there’s one left. Here is the thread on the titanium version. It was designed to be a triple though, I’m not sure how difficult it would be to mod it into a single emitter.

An Olight R20 would be a good alternative, 25Kcd for 314m throw and still easily pocketable :slight_smile:

No. If you found a very tight-angle TIR that would fit, you might get a decent bit of throw from the right emitter, but 400m is a long way for a pocket light.

Go with the XP-L HI C8. That should get closer to what you want, but still be relatively compact.

An X6, although not as throwy, is said to be very good, and if properly built, might get you close to what you want, while remaining more compact than the C8.

I have a couple of larger lights that will do the 400m throw, but at that range, visibility is greatly limited by air clarity. I have a large hay barn I routinely light up with a couple of special-purpose dedicated throwers I have, from about 500m. Even at that range, with great lights custom built for the purpose, haze in the air limits my ability to discern a lot of detail. The small reflector in the S-series type hosts results in a lot of additional spill, which bounces off the haze/dust in the area, ruining the contrast you need to see at longer ranges. It takes a lot more light than ANSI-throw numbers indicate to be useful at such extended ranges.

For that throw, you will need a dedicated thrower, not a convenient/pocketable tube light.

I think I have decided on a convoy s2 or s2+. I am thinking of doing one for maximum throw and one for flood. I don’t want to get the completed drop in as I want to learn about how everything works however I dont think I have the property tools to flow the led to the board.

If you find any good instructional vids on YouTube or anything let me know. I wanns get a jaxman z1 host and make it my own but dont have a clue

FYI, I reflow emitters with nothing but tweezers, a soldering iron, a toothpick, and some soldering paste. There are videos on reflowing here on the forum; it’s actually really simple, but I would recommend that you practice with some older outdated or junk emitters before trying on the good stuff. It takes very little soldering paste, and having too much or too little can cause issues. I highly recommend that you keep a tub of this around because it is great for reflowing, and tinning leads and PCB pads.

For maximum throw, XP-G2 in a Smooth-Reflector full-size S2. I haven’t tried a hard-driven XP-L HI; that might do well, but I prefer the smaller emitter in this package.

For a more floody light, use the S2+ with the shallow OP reflector and an XM-L2 or XP-L of your choice.

here is what Im thinking for light #1, the thrower.

- Convoy S2 Flashlight Host

- CREE XP-G2 S2 1D LED on Noctigon 16mm MCPCB

- Convoy S2/S5/S6/S7 Smooth XP Reflector - 21*20mm

  • driver???

what am I missing other than the driver?
I am not sure where to begin with the drivers. what is the difference in buck, fet and linear?

Not sure where you are ordering from; if it’s Mtn, then it’s easy…

For driver:

Buck - steps voltage down, so you can use multiple cells in series to drive an LED with a lower voltage (not what you need for a Convoy S-series with single 18650 config
FET- a low resistance direct-drive driver that dumps all possible power to the emitter from your cell (think short circuit!). Maximum brightness, at the expense of extra heat, and reduced runtime. These are good for hot-rod builds, where utility isn’t primary, but high “wow” factor. It’s essential that you make sure your emitter has a good thermal path or it could burn up easily.

The regulated (linear?) Qlite driver is a good, affordable, multi-purpose driver:
3A is a good high drive current for an XP-G2 and is what I have in my Convoy S2 build, with the same reflector you mention. Individual chips can be removed for lower drive current if desired.

The Convoy S2 host comes with a XM-L sized centering ring/insulator, so you would probably want the XP-sized gasket for your build with the XP reflector:

If you want to get fancy, then throw an AR-coated lens in with the rest of your order:

I’d just like to re-iterate, even with the XPG2 and smooth reflector, your S2 is not going to throw very far. Throw distance is primarily a function of reflector diameter. You simply can’t get around physics.

It will be more throwy than the S2+, but not by a ton.

…and the spill from the smaller diameter reflector will cause so much glare, the hotspot will be of limited help. I took this light out the last time I was boating at night to compare against a good purpose-built thrower, to compare it’s usefulness for picking out markers. The S2 was useless in this regard, as I was unable to discern anything at a distance. The dedicated thrower, however, illuminated markers easily, without the spill damaging our adapted night vision.

Yup, you’re not going break any distance records with something as small as an S2. But I will say… I recently put together an S6 (same reflector as an S2) with a smooth reflector, dedomed XP-G2 S4 2B (new variety), and a 3A Qlite driver. I was very impressed with its throw.

Could a bigger light throw better? Sure! But for a small tube light, it’s got a good mix of throw and spill. If you’re looking for pure distance, spill might not be a good thing. But sometimes you need to see both up close and further away, no? Build it and see what you like. Not impressed with how it turned out? It probably only cost $20-25 to assemble, build another! :wink: And if you really need to, you can frequently reuse parts.