Mod - No Longer a ROOKie (Pic Heavy Warning)

Wonder how many you have one of these lights relegated to shelf queen duty due to parasitic drain, lousy modes, and need for less common cells. Mine was assigned to shelf duty after ruining a few sets of 14500's. I then modified to have 18500 capability here, but it still had the same problems. I did this rough mod to have a smaller-sized, momentary side-switch light for trying out some FW, but it turned out to be a light I now really like.

Mod Summary:

  • 18650 capability due to smaller driver compartment
  • BLF20DD Driver with STAR Momentary modified by Tom E for Strobe (PWM's of 1,3,9,27,81,150,255)
  • XM-L2 T4 5A1 (Not >80CRI like the T4 5B1) on Noctigon
  • Copper base for Noctigon to get proper emitter height for the reflector
  • Copper Tail plate for tail cap lock out

Mod Highlights:

This the top and bottom of the head:

See that lowest level ledge below. That is where the new driver will be located. The stock on goes on the top ledge.

Used a .021" copper disk to get Noctigon to the proper height. It's a tad high now. Bezel doesn't screw all the way down. Will eventually fix with a thinner o-ring.

Also used a .035" copper disk on the bottom of the head. Inserted copper in the stock lead holes and reflowed the disks on each side of the emitter shelf. This will improve the thermal path and create a nice solid electrical path.

Didn't quite reflow the Noctigon in the center, but there is enough slop in the reflector fitting to accommodate.

Used .035" sheet to fabricate a driver holder. This is all that is really needed to mode the head for 18650's. There is a ledge already there for it to rest on.

But, I wanted more copper. The ring holds the driver plate securely by spring pressure. Also the battery tube holds it when screwed down.

Had to do some driver surgery because I burnt off some of the traces (These OSH Park PCB's don't seem very hardy, but they get the job done).

File off the anodized finish on the tail end of the battery tube. Made a copper disk (.021" thick) shaped into a dome to act like a supper low electrical resistance spring.

Slightly unscrewing the tail cap locks out the light.

Beam shots:
It's real clear that this emitter doesn't have as high a CRI as the T4 5B1 (>80 CRI), but the tint is nicer to me. It's less red, but not nearly as yellow as the 4C.

To Does:

  • Reinstall factory momentary switch so that switch cover can be screws all the way down.
  • Grind down solder blobs on Noctigon so that reflector can rest in stock position without shorting.
  • Find thinner bezel o-ring so bezel can be screwed all the way down.


Really like it now. Good general purpose light.

Throw is 36kcd with a cell that pushes 4 amps to the emitter. The light has enough mass and surface area to tail stand on high (with average cells), but it gets too hot to pick up without getting burnt. You can run it on high for a good amount of time before it gets too hot to hold bare handed (at 4 amps, I don't have any high current cells). Pretty decent tail-standing, pocketable side switch light now. It is now back on active duty as my night stand light.

Have a couple small items to sew up, but mod is pretty much done.

That is pretty awesome. Well done!

The light that should've been? Nice effort. It reminded me of RBD reading about all the copper. can the battery tube be bored out to suit a 26650 battery?

Nice Mod ImA4Wheelr. My Rook has been relegated to shelf queen status because it drains a set of Eneloops flat in about a week!

Very nice, ImA4Wheelr, very nice indeed.

Thank you grantman321, MRsDNF, BIGBLOCKMOPAR, and cone.

MRsDNF wrote:

The light that should've been? Nice effort. It reminded me of RBD reading about all the copper. can the battery tube be bored out to suit a 26650 battery?

So true. They really screwed up when they designed the Rook. DBSAR measured the tube one time and reported that the battery tube landings did not allow the tube to be bored to 26650. Holding a 26650 over the tube and looking down it indicates that too. Too bad, 26650 capability is what this light should hold given its overall size. 4AA would be so cool too (Pretty much identical exterior dimensions to the Sunwayman D40A), but again the land cutouts kill the possibility.

Bummer that it won’t work with a 26650. I’m not gonna lie… I’m pretty impressed with that driver pocket you fabbed up. It ain’t super pretty, but looks like it works great - which is what matters. I love seeing the solutions some of y’all come up with without using a lathe (well. and also what some of you can do with a lathe…). It’s fairly convicting for me to get back after modding lights that haven’t been working out quite as planned thus far.

Yeah, seeing other member's mods motivates me too. RBD was mentioned above. I find he and I kind of think and address problems in similar ways. The biggest difference being that he is super crazy talented. I would be happy to have 10% of his talent.

If I had known I would end up liking this light (I started this mod just to have a momentary FW test host), I might have polished up the visible copper parts. Hard to say if I really would have though as I tend to put the least amount of energy into aesthetics.

I like the tailcap idea. Man I got so much to do over the next week but keep coming back to the forum on my phone- then to the pc lol Screw you guys I gotta get these solar panels up and finished :bigsmile:

^ LOL. I have the same problem. I think BLF is more addictive than modding lights.

Solar pannels? Are you putting them on your house?

Nicely done, great light when it’s problems are addressed.

I piggybacked a BLF17DD Ver 1.0 into mine, with a ramping software. Also hand polished the flawed reflector. Now it’s a very potent little light that is much more dependable without worrying so much about state-of-charge.

Aw yes, this beauty (Link in picture):

Definitely the sweetest Rook around.

She’s running sweetly on the ramping UI from ToyKeeper, by way of Comfy, makes it really nice to use.

When I put that BLF17DD in it, I changed the very power hungry Luminus emitter to a Cree XM-L2. As of just now, taken off the shelf with well rested AW IMR14500 cells, she’s showing 1339 OTF at start. :slight_smile:

With 9 lumens at the low end and 64 stops between those two, it’s easy to get the light you need and conserve the cells if that’s a priority. Really made all the hard hand polishing work on the reflector pay off here, as it’s now a viable useful light.

Enjoy yours! I know I enjoy mine! :slight_smile:

Good job 4wheelr! I love your copper skills and the "beefed up" traces on the driver board!

Thank you RMM. That poor driver. I couldn't figure out why the driver wouldn't work right and must have swapped diodes/jumpers a half dozen times. It wasn't until I finally searched through the various driver threads that I became aware of the capacitor placement issue.

My hat's off to you. Building those OSH Park drivers and making them look good takes time and skill.

Nice mod ImA! Missed this post until just now. Must be nice to have a momentary firmware test host. Bet it comes in handy for users requesting customized builds !


Thank you Garry.

I generally only build for myself (and gifts for love ones). I'm too slow to make money at this and mixing hobby and business generally equals no more fun.

Yeah I’m putting in another 10 in (255w poly) panels… Just 5kwatts total. The permit was approved before our trip up north and I been messing with these lights.

Know a place in LA that sells them for a good price- ended up less than 2 dollars a watt in the end, that’s everything.

They had me cut my own railing though xd. But if you want a good deal it’s not bad, even got the wire thrown in free. Guess they felt bad- I was outside with my farm hat on cutting the 14 foot rails down outside because of liability. They didn’t want to ship them at 14 feet, guess cost too much and they didn’t want to cut them because if it was off, I might return. Guess they had issues with other installs.

Oh well, it’s moving now. I’ll take pictures when it’s up and put it in the misc section :stuck_out_tongue: Not that anyone cares. Be nice to 0 out our bill.

Maybe put in a battery bank someday too.

^ That sounds pretty cool. Please do put up a thread on it. I think quite a few members and lurkers would be interested.