Modding the TechLite Lumen Master (aka the Costco Special Cree Flashlight)

Alright, I've seen questions on a couple of forums off and on about these flashlights, so I thought I'd post up a little mod I did to make a crappy flashlight in to actually a pretty good one. I also think this is a mod that anyone can do.

The light can be seen here -

Here's a eBay link to one of them -

The build quality of these lights is actually very good - nice threading, quality anodizing, really nice heatsinking. However, it uses 3xAAAs in a holder (yuck) and the crappy "Smart" tailswitch has a well-known battery drain issue. With a little work, you can get a very nice, very functional light out of it, though.

First of all, you need to get the right model. There are 3 models of this flashlight around.

1. First model has a half OP reflector, a Cree XR-E emitter, and no "tactical" switch, with a strobe and SOS rather than a tactical interrupt. This is further distinguishable by having pistons instead of springs in the battery chamber. You do NOT want this version.

2. The second version, and the one you want has a smooth reflector, and uses a Cree XP-E emitter. This model does NOT have the zooming head and still has the tailcap drain issue, but is otherwise not bad. The build quality (other than the plastic lens) is actually quite good.

3. The third (and latest) version has a smooth reflector, a Cree XP-C emitter, and has the twisting "zoom" head. This one again is pretty useless, but if you can find one cheap it might be worthwhile to scavenge the tailcap and extra o-rings. You do NOT want this version either.

For this mod, you will need a minimum of one of #2 above, as well as one cheap 9 LED flashlight you can find at any dollar store. I was lucky enough to find a clearance store with a bunch of these lights on for $5 each, so I grabbed one #2 and #3. For both of these mods I'll be using the model with the XP-E as the "working" flashlight.

First mod. If you take a look at this picture:

You'll see the general build of the tailcap switch. It has (in order) a thick plastic spring holder that screws in to the tailcap, the "smart" switch itself, another hard plastic spacer, and then the rubber boot cover. You can unscrew the spring holder using a pair of needlenose pliers, and then after that you can just do a hard push on the rubber boot to pop out the rest of the assembly. Don't throw anything away. The clicky is worthwhile to keep for the second mod. Underneath the tailcap assembly, you'll see a basic reverse clicky I ripped out of the cheapo 9-LED light from the dollar store. The really nice thing is that it fits in the tailcap perfectly. To get it out of the cheap light, rip off the boot cover, and then use a pen to push it out of the tailcap.

To reinstall everything, first take the translucent rubber cover from the Techlite and shave about 2/3s off of the post inside. Re-install this in to the tailcap, and then push the cheap clicky in to place. That's it. You should have *just* enough room to fit a protected 18650 battery inside. and you'll have a 160 lumen, XP-E flashlight that takes 18650 batteries for under $10.

Second mod. As easy as the first. If you take a look at this picture:

You'll see the basic makeup of the somewhat modified tailswitch I made. Since I bought two of these lights, I had an extra tailcap to play around with. Again, I removed the plastic spring holder and the the plastic spacer between the rubber boot cover and the clicky, and shaved down the post on the tailcover. I made a spring spacer out of some hard plastic I had laying around, and used one of the springs from the battery holder to make a spring contact. When I'm not using the light, I have the single-mode tailcap installed, but if I plan on taking the light out, I install the other cap (takes 5 seconds, if that).

Practical upshot, for less than $15 (closer to $13 including tax) I got a 160 Lumen, XP-E flashlight that takes 18650 batteries, with a choice of either a single mode reverse-clicky or a medium/high/strobe soft clicky, and the battery life is excellent (about 3 hours on high, nearly 7 hours on medium with my crappy ripped-out-of-a-laptop-battery 18650s).

Edit: Sorry, don't know how to directly input larger images, you'll just have to follow my Photobucket links for now.

so im reviving this. any chance you know how to get the pill out of the head?

I believe I have the one in the ebay link. I read your descriptions and the head is fixed so that rules out #3. It also has a spring on the front end of the battery cage so that rules out #1. I believe it was a 3 pack for $19.99.

You can remove the head using a pair of strap wrenches - it's not glued down. After that you should be able to screw out the pill.

good to hear. these look like good solid hosts, as i got 3 at costco for 19.99 (and they are the #2 grouping lol)

i dunno if i have any strap wrenches... i think i lost those too.

The TechLite Lumen Master 250 can be modified for tactical use (momentary on/off):

Remove the MCU, MOSFET, diode, resistors and capacitors from the PCB and added a jumper wire to use the momentary button instead (this prevents the standby battery drain issue):

There is a 24 ohm resistor in parallel with the Cree LED (for the MCU circuit). It can also be removed:

With the current meter installed in place of the tail cap the current starts at about 800mA however after a minute it drops to around 600mA and continues to drop slowly. Well within the safe operating range for the Cree XPG-R4 LED. Current regulation is via the internal resistance of the AAA batteries. Not sure how long the tactile switch will last since they are typically only rated for 50mA. Will change it for another switch later on.

Welcome to the BLF!
This light has lots of potential, and may redefine the budget category. Thanks for having a go at it.

Hi gregelectric welcome to BLF ! ! ! :party:

This thread is quite old, is this flashligth still sold at Costco ?
And if not, what took you so long to join us here on BLF ? :stuck_out_tongue:

The 250 lumen is available at costco in Canada, it was given to me just yesterday. I got fed up with clicking the button to cycle through the 3 modes of 50% 100% and strobe.

Costco seems to have made a commitment to this light. This is the third generation, at least. The 250 lumen is the latest iteration. In fact, I think today was the last day for the sale price of 3 for $15. Back to 3 for $20 (until the next sale).

At $5 per light I think that is a great deal.

Perhaps with my simple mod it could be considered more reliable. The Cree XPG-R4 LED in series with 3 AAA batteries and a tactile switch, no MCU to consume standby life (or that crashes occasionally when you click the button in a way that makes it unhappy so that you have to disconnect the battery to reboot).

My Costco has put an asterisk (*) on the price placard. That usually means that when these are gone, they will not be restocked. I don’t know if they have a newer version in the works. They still had a good quantity left.

If you have been on the fence, now is your opportunity to say yea or nay.


Am I correct that with the changes in post #5, there are no more modes at all (just on/off and momentary)?