Need suggestions for host or light to build/mod for gifts

After carrying a few lights I’ve built for him (C8 XP-L at 3.8A, S2+ 3-XP-L at 3A, Y3 dedomed at 5A), my dad has requested that I build some lights for him to give as gifts.

I’ve tried explaining multiple times that in general, the wider the reflector, the smaller the hotspot & longer the throw. It hasn’t sunk in. He’s asking me to build a few lights that throw reasonably well and are pocketable and as small as possible. Specifically he’s asked for the head to be the same diameter as the battery tube. I don’t know if he’d go for something like a Trustfire A8 (26650 tube light). He might find it too big to be pocketable. They’re kinda fat… a SF L2 is smaller.

So I’m trying to deliver the best lights I can within his impossible parameters. What makes things even more impossible is that he made this request today. For Christmas. Chances of getting something here from Chinaland are pretty daggum small based on the dozens of orders I’ve made from numerous sources over there. Hopefully RMM will read this ’cause I imagine he’s my only hope.

So… can I make an S2+ throw even remotely well if I stuff a dedomed XP-G2 in there and feed it 3 amps? I have 15-20 S2+ hosts on hand already, so that would be the totally ideal situation as I could just order LEDs and drivers. I’d thought about ignoring his ‘all the same diameter’ requirement and going with EE X6’s but I highly doubt I could get them here in time and modify them in time for Christmas. I think I have enough batteries and chargers on hand as well. I hope. Should probably check on that.

So I’m putting my dilemma out there for the collective brainpower of the more experienced modders on here to help me solve. Any and all suggestions greatly appreciated. Especially if they come quickly. I figure I’ve gotta order parts in the next 48 hours if I have any hope of delivering lights in time for my dad to give them out as gifts.

How much lux is your buddy after?

He wants to use 26650 or 18650 pocketable light?

My Eagletac 18650 twisty (they only make one) with stock XPG2 emitter is driven direct. Pulls 2A off cheap cells and 20K lux. Very small and simple 1 mode and simple twisty UI.

My dad has never heard of lux, or candela, or much of anything besides lumens, and he doesn’t have an understanding that lumens have nothing to do with throw. He doesn’t know what an 18650 or 26650 is, despite the fact that he has one or two of each (from me)… just that he has two sizes of lithium ion batteries that only go on the specific charger I gave him and that he isn’t allowed to buy any more flashlight batteries unless they come from MTN. I’ve only given him protected batteries, and all the lights I’ve built him have low voltage cutoff. So as far as giving him an 18650 light or a 26650 one, I think an 18650 is what he has in mind. I think. Literally all he told me was he needs me to build three lights that are “powerful,” “focus well” and “are the same diameter all the way down.” Given the three lights he has that I’ve built him, I’m assuming he’s thinking something similar to the S2+ I built for him, but throwier. The one I built him is a 3-XP-L… so it’s exceedingly bright and exceedingly floody.

So I think I’m shooting for a light that will throw about like a decent dedomed xm-l2 in a P60, which I think is a difficult enough bar to hit if I’m stuck with a 20mm reflector. Would a 20mm TIR throw better? I’ve never used one before. And to be honest, the XP-G2 lights I’ve built, I was less than impressed with. Maybe I’m doing XP-G2’s wrong, or maybe I just hate pencil beams. Not sure.

Should probably note that I have a P60 I built that throws nearly on par with my BLF X6. So I’m setting a fairly unattainable goal if I stick with a 20mm reflector. So I guess I’m wondering if there’s a host or moddable light out there with a deeper 20mm reflector? I know that won’t make an enormous difference on throw distance, but maybe the reduced spill will make it seem like it does?

Another, related question… what happens when you rig up an XP-G2 with a BLF17DD and a protected NCR? Does the protection circuit on NCRs cut power entirely or just limit the draw? I’ve only ever built two DD lights with one of the BLF—DD drivers and have only ever used unprotected batteries with them to pull higher current. Neither has an XP-G2.

Sticking with the S2+, best choice is a de-domed XP-G2 I would think. XP-E2's won't get the same amps, but in theory, they throw better than XP-G2's at the same amps.

DD drivers work great with protected cells, just knocks down the amps, but still should be decent with a Pana cell. The Convoy S4 I believe is the deepest reflector around in 18650 Convoy tube lights, but it's got those weird slots in the head area.

I'm thinking I got 40+ kcd on one of those cheapo 18650 zoomies with an XP-E2 (w/dome) at 2.4-2.8A, from what I recall - built for a friend. It's very slim like a tube light, very light weight (i.e. cheap), but I sort of like them Smile. Nice pocket thrower...

It's this:, sold under many labels, some variations in styles/build.

I would suggest SK-58s if you had more time. RMM has UltraOK SK-68s. For throw, leave the XP-E or XR-E, they are smaller. Don’t know if you can improve on the driver. You can’t do much better for that head diameter.

I built a Convoy S2 with a dedomed XPG2 a while ago, and I’m quite impressed at the throw it delivers for a pocket light. You’ve probably seen this thread before, but in case you haven’t, I highly suggest giving it a read when you get the chance. ComfyChair made some great comparisons of various S4 configurations, and it might come in handy when making a decision on what parts to use.

I don’t see SK-68’s on RMM’s site… What am I missing? I have two (a Sipik and some random eBay gold SK-68 clone), both from ebay. Supposedly a 17mm driver will sorta fit, but my understanding is that it has to be loose and makes direct contact with the battery tube. If I’m going to mod lights as gifts, I’d like the guts to be a little more put together (and hopefully more reliable for the end user).

Not eliminating the little zoomies just yet (or the bigger SK-98)… Just have almost no experience modding them. Is it in any way possible to not have the awful square beam in throw mode? Or are LED Lensers/Poplites the only ones that pull that off since they use a LED pillar and a TIR? Or could I get poplites that fit 18650s and can be modified with different drivers? Do poplites have the weird two-stage switch that my LED Lenser P7 has?

Good to know - thanks! I may throw an S2+ and an S4 together during lunch today to see what’s what. Nifty little zoomie too - assuming it feels pretty cheap in hand though… Looks pretty thin. I may order one for myself to mod, but thinking it may be a little too flimsy for gifting. That’s straight conjecture though - obviously I’ve never held one. What do you think of it?
Someone on here might have 15 mm. BLFSK68 drivers for sale, or if you do surface mount you can order the boards from OSH Park and strip Nanjg 105c drivers for components.
There is no way to get as bright a spot and have it not look like the LED, with any sort of optics with the same aperture. You can adjust it so that the head doesn’t quite slide far enough to get a clear focus.

In my humble opinion, I would put as many lumens into the lights as you can. It gives the feeling of long reach even if it does not reach far.

I would simply use the ultrafire 502b hosts from RMM and use P-60 drop ins. Use XM-L and use a DD driver. I am sure RMM has P-60 stuff and drivers. All you need can be had from him. It would probably be the easiest and fastest way to go. He can tell you the best stuff to go with. Just PM him.

Convoy M1, XP-G2 (domed or dedomed up to you), on sinkpad/noctigon, 2.4A, good battery (i like UR18650fm), protected and simple plug and play and reliable name brand cahrger

> Someone on here might have 15 mm. BLFSK68 drivers for sale

I got several varieties from CerealKiller that fit both SK68s and the smaller “#3” zoomie — they’re li-ion only, won’t work with primary cells, but if that suits they’d be good gifts.

I’m dubious about giving anyone li-ion cells, the more I read about the cheap ones causing problems.

EDIT to add: personally I like the little “#3” or SK58 zoomies as more pocket-friendly, fewer sharp edges.

But for gift lights, if I buy more, I will buy the SK68s from RMM to be sure of getting the soild pill variety.
That way they are good stock lights suitable for NiMH or lithium primary cells,
AND the solid pill makes it easy to drop in a different LED with just 2 solder spots, a centering plastic thingy and a bit of thermal tape or goop.

(Insert rubbing hands, cackling evil laugh, petting kitten — the first light mod is easy, anyone can do it ….)

I especially like the Luxeon Rebel color emitters — they’re on rectangular boards that barely hang by their corners in hollow pill AA light.
But with the solid pill, they are a very easy upgrade.

Or anything with a nicer color. And centering doesn’t seem to be much of a problem with the zoomie lens lights, even a somewhat off-center emitter gives a decent spot and zoom — and the plastic retainer thing is easy enough to fiddle with.

Then, once someone’s had the experience of swapping an emitter … they’ll want to know more.

(I do wish I knew a source with solid pills for the “#3” and SK58 lights)

Good point, aside from my brother who builds racing engines and reloads his own rifle shells, I am asking people before giving them lithium ion cell lights. I have found a couple of cheap 3 x AA lights, with the idea of modifying them for my nephew, but I can’t recommend ether yet.

Whenever I sell/give someone a lithium-ion light, I also give them a protected ncr18650b or pf and a reputable 1-cell charger (usually xtar), and also explain some of the basic dangers of lithium-ion lights. I’ve also occasionally been adding an extra clear shrink-wrap on the batteries… I’ve had the shrinkwrap on several protected NCR18650’s split lately, so I’ve been adding another layer to help protect the battery further. As a side bonus it also doesn’t rattle in lights with bigger battery tubes. But from everything I’ve seen & read, as long as you don’t over-discharge them or overheat them, there’s very little to worry about.

I ended up going with Convoy M1’s. Still somewhat undecided as to domed XP-G2 or dedomed XP-L. I’ll probably end up doing one of each and seeing what that looks like and going from there. Drivers will be qlite’s flashed with 90-second turbo timers from MTN, so I guess I’ll start with the standard 3A and may or may not stack on a few more 7135s.

While I generally try and give/sell lights after I’ve made them about as nice as I know how (within reason) regardless…. I think one of the eventually recipients of one of these is head of a local swat team… so… I’m hoping he’ll be impressed enough to come back for more.

I’m also going to make up some SK68s adding the “2AA Police light” battery tubes as extensions — so they can run with one or three NiMH cells.
That way they’ll work with the stock emitter and driver, but can also be upgraded with a better LED and the SK68-BLF driver if someone wants to venture into modding later.

“He gives the kids free samples
because he knows full well
that today’s young, innocent faces
will be tomorrow’s clientele …”
— Tom Lehrer

Welp. RMM is a magician and got everything to my house in ridiculously quick fashion. Even when I forgot a few things and made a second (and third) order, he shipped the second order with the first. So, thanks!

Ended up deciding out of A. OL’s comment to stuff as many lumens in as possible rather than aim for slightly less lumens & slightly more throw, B. Laziness…. to proceed on with XP-L’s and skip testing the beam shape and throw with XP-G2’s.

So during my lunch break today, I flowed the three XP-L’s onto noctigons, dropped them in a glass of gasoline, stacked an additional 4x7135’s on each driver and sanded down the centering disks that came with the hosts til they were super thin. And just now after cleaning up and rinsing the mounted LEDS with alcohol, I’ve dolloped a large amount of LED Seal onto and around the LEDs and set the centering disks around the little XP-L’s at a 45 degree angle.

This is somewhat of an experiment… the LED openings in the reflectors in the M1s are quite large, and I haven’t got a decent way of centering an XP-sized die in there without hacking up some XP centering disks and squeezing them inside of the standard ones. None of my XM-sized centering disks seem remotely large enough for them. I’ve stuffed sliced up XP disks inside of XM ones before, but I feel like this may be a cleaner solution even though it is a fair amount more permanent. So I’m attempting to use the LED Seal both to protect the dedomed LEDs and as an adhesive to stick the centering disks in place. Here’s hoping it’ll hold strongly enough when I get to tightening the bezels down on top of them later on tonight.

Thank for all y’alls’ help. Got all three lights finished tonight with one major-ish complication and one minor complication… Minor being the LED Seal doesn’t stand up to the pressure of tightening the bezel — I think using noctigons in this new generation of M1’s makes it a rather tight fit to get the bezel all the way down. Reapplied the LED Seal to one and I’ll try tightening them down again after they’ve had 24 hours to cure.

The major complication is something I hadn’t run into before, but figured I’d encounter eventually since most every one of my mods involved budget Chinese lights/hosts. On one of the M1’s, the driver retaining ring was badly crossthreaded from the factory. By the time I got it unstuck with some tweezers, it snapped. I was able to solder it back into a complete circle and file the spot at the joint so the not-so-perfect alignment of the threads at the repaired spot wouldn’t catch on the already mangled (by the factory, not by me) threads in the head of the host. Then I gently worked it in to where it would screw in far enough to hold the driver in place (with giant blobs of solder on the driver’s ground ring) and then soldered the retaining ring to the driver’s ground ring. It’s annoying that the light isn’t totally perfect since I’m making these for other people and not for my own use, but I can’t imagine it’ll be in any way noticeable by anyone but me.

All in all, they’re all working very well. They certainly aren’t throwers by any remote stretch, but I think the recipients will be impressed. They’ve got a nice fat hotspot, no rings in the beam thanks to the OP reflectors, and the tint from the dedomed XP-L V5 2A’s is absolutely perfect. Only one ended up with even the slightest bit of green, but it’s so little that I can’t detect it outdoors - only notice it when comparing it to the other two on a white wall.

I can’t tell if my DMM is reading way low or what, but all three were showing around 3.5-3.8A right at power on on high, then settling down to around 3.2A. A stock qlite in a light with all the springs modded and a solid brass pill only showed 2.6-2.7A at power on on high (all measurements on fully-charged NCR18650PFs)… so I think it’s the DMM’s fault. Also thoroughly checked my solder work on the stacked 7135’s, and all three are reading almost exactly the same as each other. Not sure what’s going on there. How long to DMM batteries last? Would a lot battery cause it to read consistently low? My DMM is modded with 14ga leads soldered in place and seemed fairly accurate before. Ah well. Another problem for another day.