I have been thinking about making a thread about these little beauties for some time. I have used them for months, and lately started to mention them in some threads. A member wondered if I could do a thread about my lights. Why not? These are great lights. They are among my favorites, after they have been modded that is.
In comparison with other known lights:
Olight I6, OEM D4 (aka Convoy M1), ZY-T29, D4 (aka Xiaochi/Convoy S6), ZY-T11, Sipik SK 68, Ultrafire M5
I ordered them back in April 2013 (Some sale from a store named Meritline, I do not recommend them btw). One of the lights had a defect driver. There was no "off". Main problem with stock UI is that you have to cycle through all the modes in order to get to "off". Like the Supfire M6. I dont like that UI. Stock output on high was around 1,8-2,2A. I think the ZY-T11 was the one with slightly higher current.
No big deal as I considered them to be mod hosts, as basically all my lights. Due to the limited space, the light would require lots of mechanical work in the front in order to replace the switch with a mechanical one and fit a regular driver circuit.
The upgraded driver
Luckily, I did the smart and easy thing. I sent a PM to Drjones back then, 2 lumodrv was ordered. They work with electronic switches. I did not understand the UI that well based on the description. At that point I had never owned a driver with ramping before. But once you get the light in your hand, everything falls to place.
In short, its a 2 mode driver. But you can also start ramping from lowest output when the light is off. So in some way its kinda like a 3 mode. The modes can be programmed to the output you desire (its got 34 steps!) You can also easily adjust the 2 modes up and down too (ramping). If you turn the light off, it remembers the brightness/setting you used last. Its got built in battery monitor that can tell you the voltage of the battery. Its got hidden strobe, and beacon. There are also shortcuts to the various modes depending on how many quick taps you do. You can do momentary at the brightness level you want. Basically, you can turn it into a 1-mode that is great for signalling, of course, with the brightness you desire. :) Probably some minor things I have not said, but its a pretty sweet UI. The beauty of it its that its based on a nanjg 105C. That means the numbers of 7135 regulators can be changed for the current you want. I ordered mine with 8*350mA regulators. A total of 2,8A.
Looking at the stock lights
Before I talk more about the modded lights. Lets look at the stock ones. What is the difference between ZY-T11 and ZY-T29. First off, Im not sure all of these are similar. My lights were not supposed to be branded Small Sun, but they were. Some sell them with Ultrafire logo, some with Aleto. Banggod.com sell them for about 10$ (Aleto). I believe Small Sun is the maker of these lights, but for all I know, the clones might be just as good.
Size of a compact EDC light.
Reflector width more like a P60.
Spill is wider than a P60, so its great for walking outdoors in the nature.
-Shorter than ZY-T29
-Stable tailstand (ZY-T29 is not that stable)
-Lanyard hole nicely placed on the tail (ZY-T29 have it on a weird place on the head)
-I like the clean look better
-Easier to soldier emitter wires sine the emitter does not sit that deep into the head (despite this, they have similar sized reflector)
-Came with aluminium reflector (My ZY-T11 came with a plastic reflector)
-No charge port opening
-Slightly thicker square threads on the tailcap (Still not "premium threads". Im perfectly happy with the threads on the ZY-T11 though. Threads are good enough on both lights)
To sum it up, I like the ZY-T11 better, but the ZY-T29 is technically better. :p
A few nice things. Head seems to be made out of one piece of aluminium. That means great heat transfer. Better than say, typical Convoy "S" or "M" series light that uses a screw in brass pill.
Reflector is fairly wide, but short. This gives great wide spill, but a bit of reach too (considering the size of the light). Dont get me wrong, its a mainly a close up light. With a de-domed XM-L you get both of throw and nice wide spill.
Lockout feature on tailcap (Warning, this makes you loose programming if you have done any. This driver is not like various other DrJones drivers that remembers the programming when you take out the battery). Edit: New drivers now remember programming when you take out the battery or "active" lockout (unscrew the tailcap a little).
Was decent. For a 10$ light I don't expect premium anodizing, and you dont get it either. But I was happy with the look. If you use these lights a lot, you will see some typical signs of wear and tear. I have a few minor marks on mine. But they have held up nicely.
I was so retarted that I took the switch out of one of my lights (when I considered mechanical swtich). Dont do that! I might be a PITA to get it properly back in place. I used a dremel to help me get the job done, and managed to scratch the head of my ZY-T29 in the process. Anodizing is not HAIII. :P
As mentioned, head design is deeper on the ZY-T29, which makes it harder to solder emitter wires compared to the ZY-T11. (reflector is basically similar size on both lights) Stock the MCPCB was 25mm wide I believe. I replaced it with copper MCPCB like I do on most lights. Since reflector on the ZY-T29 is made out of aluminium, its always nice to cover up the wires. In my case, I used kapton tape.There is also a white XM-L centering ring included.
The ZY-T11 (left) uses the Lumodrv as it came came shipped (mounted to the stripped down driver circuit that came with the light). Currently its even got stock wires from driver. These days I always replace the stock wires.
2,8A is a quite nice amount of current for these lights. On the ZY-T29 I just went crazy and added 3 extra 350mA regulators. Total output 3850mA. These regulators tend to overperform so I am actually measuring up towards 3,9 to the emitter. In order to get that current. Copper braided spring is required. The lights can use all type of 18650 batteries btw. A normal protected NCR18650B will only output a bit more than 3,5A when freshly charged. This is due to the Vf on the XM-L2. So Im normally using a protected 2900mAh Panasonic PD cell in order to get both output and runtime on top level. That battery have no issues giving me the full output. When battery (resting) voltage is down to 3,89V, im still seeing 3,4A to the emitter. When its down to 3,8V im getting 2,9A to the emitter.
I could always use unproteceded PD cells (which I sometimes use), or some low capacity cells that holds the current higher for a longer amount of time, but in all honesty. This is a small light, they are not really meant for extreme 3A+ current. But its fun, and when its so easy to adjust high up and down as you want, who cares if 100% output is stupid high. :)
You see that plastic ring around the spring (picture above) On the ZY-T29 I have flipped it and glued in in place. The only thing that avoids a short circuit is that plastic ring, and on my ZY-T29 it was dangerously close to not holding the battery away from touching the retaining ring at the spring at the same time. (ZY-T11 was better)
I have ordered from CNQ. Stock lens is about 1,6mm. AR lens is 2mm. I dont think that is an issue. And if I remember correctly, stock MCPCB is 2mm thick. Sinkpad/Noctigon is slightly thinner. I believe you end up with pretty much the same fitment as stock.
My (current) setup on these lights:
I dont remember all the combinations I have done with emitters in these lights. I change around alot on all of my lights. On the ZY-T29 I started out with stock. Then I used to have a de-domed 3C emitter in the ZY-T29 some time back (yes you read correctly de-domed 3C). Then an XM-L2, now another XM-L2. More specifically, XM-L2 T6 3A on copper. Ill use it as it is for a little time. Then i will de-dome it. Wires/springs have been upgraded. 3,85A to the emitter.
My ZY-T11 uses 100% stock lumodrv 2,8A. XM-L2 5B1 (80+ CRI) on copper. I might increase output to 3150mA, and do resistance mods, but its nice as it is.
These lights, and especially my ZY-T11 have been among my favorite lights since I got the DrJones Lumodrv in it and upgraded the emitters. And I have used them for months! :) Highly recommended mod lights!
Ill get back to beamshots in the future, probably some time after the ZY-T29 have gotten its emitter de-domed..