My first mods! An experience, for sure!

So…I wasn’t sure if I would post about my first 2 mods here, as they are so insignificant compared to others made by the BLF members.
But then I decided I’d do it, as I’m “proud” of what I’ve done for the first time, and maybe other members can also benefit from what I’ve done and learned! :wink:

Also, I’d like to say that now I understand what DB Custom said on my first post on BLF:
Hide your billfold, cut up your credit cards… you’re a perfect candidate for full blown flashaholism and will soon need dedicated flashlight cabinets. […] Have fun! Modding is next… ” :+1:

Towards the mods! :arrow_right:

Brand/model: Brennenstuhl 140 Lux Primera (24€)
Specs: 3xAAA flashlight / 3 Modes (High-Low-Strobe) / +–150 lumen / Cree XR-E Q5 – 6500K / Tail switch

Main goals:

  1. replace the LED/emitter;
  2. replace the driver;
  3. convert it into a 18650 flashlight;
  4. turn it into a more floody light.

These were the main mods I “wanted/needed” to perform because : LED stopped working, I didn’t like the UI, I wanted it to be more powerful and I wanted to stop working AAA batteries, I wanted to give it a floody aspect.

What have I done?
I measured the light over and over again to perceive what I should buy (LED, driver, reflector) and I searched for them in some online shops (AliExpress, Gearbest, Banggood, Kaidomain, Fasttech, Mouser) to get what I needed.
This is what I ended up buying (non-affiliate links):

- Reflector :

- Gasket :

- LED : (16mm plate, XML2 U2-1A)

- Driver : (Biscotti, 8*7135)

I received the materials and everything fit perfectly! So I started the next phase!
To make the flashlight accommodate an 18650 battery, I had to drill and sand and file the pill, as the battery didn’t fit well.

However, the inner space was not enough yet , so I had to change something in the switch . I had to remove a piece of rubber “inside” the tailcap and I had to remove a plastic ring between the tailcap and the switch itself ! Then, the final setting was complete.

Concerning the driver, I did the normal soldering process to connect the driver and the plate.
I had some trouble with the thermal paste so it became a bit messy! Newbie here ! Eheheh :smiley:

I had a new aluminum reflector (Orange Peel) to use instead of the original plastic reflector (Smooth).
I wanted to use it, but during the process I realized that it was making a short-circuit !
The contact between the pill and the reflector was provoking a short, so I had two options: not use the aluminum reflector, or use it wrapped in electric tape. I opted not to use the new one, and I incorporated the original that is in normal conditions !

I replaced a plastic lens for a clear glass lens (I guess I couldn’t find an AR coated with the needed dimensions).

Conclusions so far :
I use it the biscotti in a 3 or 5 mode configuration (from ultralow/low to high, no strobes), and I guess that it doesn’t get too hot because of the pill configuration, as it absorbs well the heat!
It doesn’t have a floody beam as I wished but I’m happy with this beam, as in a wide range it has some throw and some flood, especially in night environments.
The flashlight body is very strong so this may be a night carry light for longer runtimes.
Despite the mods, it still works with the 3xAAA, but I have to put a small magnet in the bottom of the battery tray.

What I’ve learned ?
Sanding, drilling, filing aluminum without the proper tools may be a tough task! I took hours and hours to make the mod in the pill because I didn’t have more powerful drilling tool.
Also, the contact between the pill and the aluminum reflector could have caused a battery overheat and explosion! So, no more of these experiences!
Here you have some pics :smiley:


Original - High

Modded Low-High


Pill and driver

(OP, not used)

(Original & final reflector)


(Final, without the plastic ring)


2nd mod
Brand/model: Ante (12€; included cheap 18650 battery and charger, bought in a local chinese store)
Specs: 18650 battery / 3 Modes (High-Low-Strobe) / +–150 lumen / Emitter: ??? / Side switch / In-built charger (not USB)
Main goals:

  1. replace the LED/emitter;
  2. replace the driver;
  3. replace the pill;
  4. turn it into a side and tail switch;
  5. replace the reflector.

My reasons to mod: again, I didn’t like the UI ; I wanted “more light” coming out of the flashlight; and I wanted to transform it in a double switch flashlight !
After measuring everything thoroughly I ordered the materials. This is what I bought:

- Reflector :

- Gasket :

- LED : (20mm plate, XML2 U2-1A)

- Driver : (Biscotti, 8*7135)

- Clear Lens :

The things I’ve done with the flashlight and the materials
1 – I opened a hole in the tail of the flashlight to fit the rubber tailcap. Inside there was enough space for the switch;
2 – I re-used an older flashlight’s switch (which I will replace for a new one already ordered)
3 – I filed the top ring of the pill so that it could fit the flashlight body
4 – I filed and sanded the top of the aluminum reflector (more OP than SMO) so that it could fit the head of the light without damaging the plate or the LED. I damaged it a little bit but it doesn’t interfere with the output beam.

The other work was more or less the same: soldering the driver to the plate, and soldering the border of the drive to the pill.
I had some struggle here because my soldering iron was not so good. I had to buy another one that delivered more heat so the solder could melt perfectly and evenly.
I also had some trouble with the thermal paste.
Actually, although I report this mod in second place, It was my first one! So…It was messy as hell for me! Ehehe :person_facepalming: :smiley:

I also replaced the plastic lens for a clear glass lens.

Conclusions so far:
I use it the biscotti in 3 or 5 mode configuration (from ultralow/low to high, no strobes), and it also doesn’t get too hot because of the pill configuration, as it absorbs well the heat!

The “double switches” work this way: the SIDE switch is the main. If it is OFF, the tailswitch won’t work.
However, if the tailswitch is also OFF, the side switch will not work.
So, if I want the light “ready to go”, I have to let one of them ON. I guess that this has some parasitic drain, but I won’t mind with that as this is a home flashlight and it was mainly my first modding project.

Also, there is some kind of problem with the switches. I guess the tailswitch is not good enough and doesn’t make perfect contact with the battery. It flickers often and when used on High, the light dims fastly, about 5 seconds after putting it on high. I will replace the switch and maybe I can solve this.
If the switch is not the problem…well, I may have damaged something during the soldering process due to the heat!

The in-built charger will not be used as the flashlight’s working mode has changed. I put a bit of hot glue in the hole to seal it.

What I’ve learned?
Drilling aluminium was really tough to make that hole for the tailcap, but it was worth it. My father gave me some help with that, so here he is with a gigantic drill!

Also, soldering without a good iron, is not good. The solder solidifies too fast and it takes a lot of time to make it right!

I like the final result, and although it has lots of flaws.
But this was my first mod, and I’m proud of it!

You get some pics here!

FL (original and new pieces)

FL (Pieces modded)

Beamshots (HIGH)


Side Switch from above

Pill / LED / Driver (original)

Pill / LED / Driver (new)

Reflectors (Original - New)

Tailswitch (Original)

Tailswitch (Moded)

Thanks for reading and hope this helps!
I wanna thank to those who contributed in this thread when I asked for help about the drivers for these mods! Thanks!
Best regards! :+1:

Cool, we all start somewhere :+1:
I remember reading posts a few years ago about emitter swaps and thinking “I’ll never bother with that” then same again with DTP MCPBS and drivers.
Now I make my own lights from anything I get my hands on :smiley: Keep it up.
I always put a ring or two of kapton tape on the bottom of the reflector to stop shorts and check for jaggy bits.
Various sized hole punches and razor blades are good for making discs.
Take it easy with the thermal paste, just a thin layer on the MCPCB before placing it in the pill with tweezers does.

Hjeh, I was so happy, finally throwing together a long-overdue D26 drop-in for an L2M host.

Makes me feel like a piker… :smiley:

that was a great write-up, thank you for sharing your experiences.

Nice mods, nice choice of driver. Question: why not go with the Xp-L HI instead of the Xm-L2?

Proud with good reason!

Thanks for sharing your first mods!

You learn so much, not only about the workings of the light, but also about your equipment.

Keep em’ coming :slight_smile:

:beer: :beer:

Hi there!
Wow, thanks for your comments folks!
I know this was a “minor” modification of flashlights, but I guess that’s it, we all start somewhere! This was my start to recycle 2 lights that may come in handy! I won’t let their host become a rot carcass :smiley:
An overall “thank you”, and I’ll answer below individually! :wink:

@ Ollie
Yeah, I guess it will get easier from now, and I’m already preparing the new thing to mod :smiley:

Well, a comment from one of the greatest modders/creators in the forum makes me happy!! Your creations are inspiring!!
Thanks for the tip about the kapton tape! I’ll try to get some and to put it.
Meanwhile, I really decided to risk all and I put electrical black tape to insert the new reflector (OP). And I like it better! The “yellowish” crown around the beam center disappeared!
About thermal paste, yeah, I gotta use less, it become really messy :person_facepalming:
On the next mod I will certainly be careful with that :wink:

@ Lightbringer
Hum, I thought about buying a “pre-made” drop-in. But, for what I’ve seen, those are bigger and wouldn’t fit this light.
So, to make it work, I had to make my drop-in :smiley:
Also, I wanted something better for the driver and the LED, so I had to do this!
This is different from a Solarforce L2M, because it has the side switch and that changes the process of putting the things into it, namely about dimensions.
I thought about buying a L2M tailswitch to make it more consistent, but I kept on my stubbornness and made the tail switch against the odds. Still have to perfect it, though :nerd_face:

Thanks! I’ll try to share what may bring input to the community :+1:

@ Persechini
My choice for the XML2 U2-1A instead of XPL-HI was due to main reasons:
a) I wanted to have a more floody beam,
b) I’m not familiarized, so far, with that LED output/beam.
The flashlights will be used for close range, mainly, and when used for larger distances, their reflectors can help making it go further.
Also, this was the tint I wanted to make it brighter in outside environment, so I chose this LED beacause of that and also because I have no XPL-HI lights. My first will arrive in some weeks and will be inside a Convoy S2 tan version+.
After that I’ll be able to know how the beam looks like and the output luminosity!
Thanks for asking :+1:

@ The Miller
Well, for someone that about 8/9 months ago was just looking for a good flashlight and never thought of being a flashaholic, to get into modding (even if it is a simple thing) may be a reason to be a bit proud :slight_smile: Thanks! :smiley:

@ FmC
You are right! More than the mod, to learn about the tools, the times of construction and what not to do in the process might have been the greatest learnings here.
I spent a bit of money to buy new things (aside from the drivers, leds….) but I’m more confortable now! :wink:

In some weeks I’ll have a new one, a bit different from these in some aspects, and I’ll share it with you!
I’ll be recycling a (old) 9 LED flashlight, to make it accomodate a reflector or TIR lens, pill, driver, and eventually and 18350 or 18500 battery! It will be funny :smiley:

Thanks again for reading and your comments!
Best regards!! :+1:

Nice work :+1:

Thanks XXX-Man!! :smiley:

Wow! I’ve been here a while longer than you, and my mod skills aren’t up to your level! Great job! If the ever gets the scratch made contest going this year, you should definitely enter! :partying_face:

Thanks for your words DavidEF! :slight_smile:
I’m just a beginner on these things! I have a lot to learn from people here before going on a contest (if I’ll ever enter one), but I’ll do my best to do some things :wink:
Glad you appreciated it!! :+1: :smiley:

Naw, all I meant is that yesterday I was feeling oh-so-productive that a long-overdue drop-in that I wanted for my L2M host, I was finally getting around to, and here you are doing major surgery on a junk-light to make it actually usable.


Even beginners are invited and encouraged to enter the contest. The contest is for fun. If you’d like to join, don’t let inexperience keep you from it. I entered last year. I intend to enter again this year. I think you can do better than me. :innocent:

Me, now I take the lazy way out, and just pawn ’em off on someone who doesn’t know any better. :smiley:

I had enough aggravation with junk-lights, kept thinking of ways to “fix” them, but underneath it all, it’s still a junk-light. Took a while to get it into my head, but now I just get rid of ’em.

“Man, what crap… Hey, you! Want a flashlight?”


“Here ya go…”

Problem solved.

Hey there again :slight_smile:
Well, thanks again for your comments! I’m thrilled that these mods may be encouraging!
First I was afraid” to start modding, as I never had soldering experience, nor building electronics experience.
But then I read a lot here on BLF, benefitting from other members’ experience and I started watching some videos about technical aspects. That was what encouraged me to do these first things.
And, of course, the not-so-good quality or usability my lights had! :smiley:

@ Ollie
The process was a bit like that: 2 lights in which I saw some possibilities to become “stronger” lights!
Then, the pieces from other lights I had, and then the new components that would make the difference.
I’m not much creative but I like to “invent” and experiment some things and to take me to another level, fearlessly!!
What could go wrong? Just some “wasted” € and wasted time! Comparing to what I had to win - 2 fully usable flashlights - I gave it a try!
Wish I had a lathe too, it would drain my money and energies, but it would be incredible!
Now I just use some of my old lights and I buy some new to make them better :wink:

@ Lightbringer
Sorry, I completely understood it in the wrong way! I thought that you meant that I could have bought a drop-in module for the light as they it is similar to the L2M! My bad :person_facepalming:
Well, this was not a perfect “surgery” and I just hope some “stitches” don’t get loose :smiley:
The Brennenstuhl I moded, despite the common aspect with some other cheap lights, it is a really nice light with very good original components, from the LED to the switch (OMTEN). But I guess that it had the capacity and the body to get something more powerful, and more usable for a daily base. I like better outputs and beams and I don’t like blinkies! That was what took to this “transformation”.
The Ante light…well, the some of the components are a bit junkie, yes. LED, pill, driver, reflector…That would need a major transformation.
And the adding of a tail switch. I guess that when the new switch arrives, I’ll borrow it to my parents, even if it uses a 18650 battery. They have their own lights, but this may work as a backup. There are no major issues when using it, and it may come in handy :wink:
BTW, I thought about buying a L2M, but I abandoned the idea some time ago, as most of the drop-ins didn’t suit me. Now…I’m not sure if I won’t give it a try :smiley:

@ DavidEF
Hum, I like non-competitive “contests”!! I guess they become learning opportunities! :+1:
What’s the name of this one you’re mentioning?
Maybe the next mod I have in mind may be a nice one for that :wink:

Thanks again folks!! And keep up your good works too :wink:
Best regards!! :+1:

Nah, no worries.

Yep, I hear ya.

The crap-C8s I got with the plastic reflectors and the like, I know they’re essentially garbage, but figure that with decent pills from FT, I could load up my own drivers/emitters and have something that I know I ain’t gonna push very hard, so having a solid brick of metal at the head won’t be critical, nor would a cheapcrap switch.

Really nice host, forward-clicky switch, no shroud around the switch, so you can use it as a true tac-light.

I haven’t bought a completed drop-in in æons, and just roll my own with whatever emitter and driver I want. As long as the emitter fits the reflector, I’m set.

Hum, yeah, I realized the pill makes a lot of difference, especially to absorb some of the heat!
I bought mine from Kaidomain store in AliExpress, and I hot another 2 on the way!
They also have those to fit the C8s and other that fit drop-in hosts! I didn’t adventured myself on those because its measures are always missing. I guess that it is a flaw from sellers (although we can ask them of course…)!
I saw the L2M host there as well and it really seems a good one! Nice to know that from what you say! I guess some day I’ll give it a try and see how it works :wink:

Thanks for the inputs once again!!

Yes, the comp is mainly for fun, & pretty much everyone who completes thier entry wins something.

I entered in the first 3, but was unable to last year. Can’t wait until this year’s!

Check out the first few comp builds here.

A lot of times when you buy a pre-built drop-in, you have no idea what went into it, or how. Did they use thick-enough wires? Did they use a good thermal goop like AS5? Or is the emitter just press-fit to the pill by the reflector?

Æons ago, when I saw an 5000K XP-L drop-in just came out, and at a non-obscene price, I sprung for it immediately. Nice emitter, but the driver is just a bunch of parallelled chip-resistors, no actual regulation. Wellp, there goes that idea…

Never bothered to replace the driver, and I still have it somewhere, maybe in a ’501 host, forgot.

Point is, had I rolled my own, it would’ve been with my choice of driver, AS5ed nicely to the pill, and I would’ve been happy with it for what it is. I wouldn’t consider it half-good.

Throwing together a drop-in is easy. And quick. And you get to pick’n’choose everything you want on it, down to the last detail, just like ordering a sandwich from a deli. :smiley: