"Quick peek" at the Shadow SL-3, a modders perspective. (Update: now modded Jan 2014)

This light have been reviewed on BLF before. I think most have been covered. But here is a "quick peek", some pictures, and some of my thoughts (I obviously have many thoughts :D ). I feel that this light deserves some more publicity. Its such a nice light.. So here goes..

Compared to ZY-T08 and Lustefire (TK-70 clone).

Size of a SRK, but head width like a ZY-T08 (but with triple emitters in the SL-3)

SRK sized reflector on the left, SL-3 reflector on the right..

No hole in the middle of the head (down to the driver) like I have seen on some of these lights.

Room for 16mm Noctigons, but stock MCPCB seems to have got so much thermal silicone or something that it would probably be a PITA to get it out...

... and the reflector is flat on the backside. So it would probably need a little work to get the emitters nicely centered if they were put on Noctigons..

Not sure if this design is common, but I had a spring at the end of the driver... (which I have not seen in other reviews/pictures)

.. and the negative spring was not attached to anything, it just sits in the bottom of the tube, which is bare aluminium in the end..

Driver circuit based around 7135 regulators.... There is room for a 8x7135 nanjg (DrJones driver?) in the driver compartment too, not sure if there is much more room for wiring...

My thoughts on the light:

Its a lovely little light... Very well built and nice finish. Very compact and small, yet a fairly large triple emitter reflector. Great heat transfer. 58mm AR lens can be fitted (stock lens is 60mm).. Output on high is nice (should be 4,5A/1,5Ax3, I have not measured). For most people and batteries that is enough and a nice compromise between runtime, not being too warm, and good light output.

UI- No memory, low- medium- high and hidden strobe. If you cycle past high you get back to low. Hold around 0,5 seconds to turn off. Double click to get to strobe. Sounds like a nice UI right? Yes and no, you have to click three times in order to get to high. And if you do it a bit too quickly you find the "hidden" strobe, either on you way to medium or to high.. That is annoying! And once you get out out of strobe you are back to low. arh... I just wanted to get to high..

Its a nice UI if you adapt to it and are not in a hurry to get to medium or high. I often want high and I want it quick...

Mode spacing is good. Some might prefer if low were lower though.

You also need to fit short (unprotected batteries). And whats up with that loose spring in the tail?

Despite some cons. Its an extremly nice light IMO. So much nicer to carry than a SRK due to grip size. And its much lighter, mainly due to less batteries, but it seems to throw like at SRK running twice the amps, and its still got good flood... There are lots of things to like with this light. Id recommended it!

Its such a nice form factor! Could be a future favorite..

Its not that mod friendly, but I might end up modding it in the distant future anyway...

It seems like it would be easy to stack some 7135’s on there.

Here are the tailcap readings I got with my XM-L2 version:

4.41A w/ MNKE IMR 3500mAh 26650
4.51A w/ King Kong unprotected ICR 26650
3.53A w/ Trustfire protected ICR 26650
3.92A w/ Redilast protected Panasonic NCR18650B
4.51A w/ Samsung INR-1865020R

I usually run my MNKE IMR’s in mine.

I really like the way the light feels in the hand. My only complaint is the same as everybody else. The UI sucks!

Thanks for the measurements.

Are your tailcap spring loose/fairly easy to take out?

Would be easy to stack extra 7135s on top of all the others, but then there would not be space for putting a DrJones driver in the light.. If a 8*7135 lumodrv or something can just be "thrown in there", and there is room for wiring. Then you would get a much nicer UI, and you would not even have to do the stacking if using both boards.. Worst case a 4x 7135 DrJones driver, and then maybe a bit stacking on the stock board..

Yeah, the spring in mine is not connected to the body. It just sits in the bottom. Perhaps soldering it in place and using some copper soldering wick on the spring would increase the current. I think there are people on here that have stacked 7135’s on this thing to bring it up to the 8 amp range…

Ok, nice to know.. I could not remember anybody mention it in any of the reviews.... If doing high amps, it might be beneficial to add some copper braid to the spring. With stock setup there is not much to gain, especially not peak output since it is limited by the amount of 7135 regulators. With the limited battery space the spring is probably nicely pressed in place. Although, if modding it, I would do what I can to limit the resistance.

Yeah, there are some (at least one :p) who have done 9A and one 6,5A... Several showed interest of a 9A version.

But a DrJones version with 6-9 amps makes much more sense IMO. You could then set up the modes as you like and have all the benefits of his driver, and avoid the cons of the stock one..

Now modded.

58mm AR lens from CNQ (about 5% light increase from stock according to my super quick unofficial measurement)

Drjones lumodrv R86 edition. Its got low voltage cut off and various other changes..

My frankenstein driver wired up.

8x380mA (Drjones) + 12x380mA (stock) + a little extra 3x 350mA (stacked)=8,650 mA

Before you ask why my switch is so ugly. For some reason stock switch did not work properly anymore. So I took one from a Small Sun ZY-T29 and mounted it upside down. Fujick below and behind it and an excessive amount of soldier to reach up to the top of it where it should be connected. (I added a bit more fujick after the shot was taken too)

I probably could have used less wires, but it works. :)

Overall height is still low, which was important with the very limited space in the driver compartment.

So, how many amps did I get on high with a Sony SE US26650VT that were above 4V.. Only 6,1A. But at that point I had only copper braided the driver circuit spring.. I suspected that the tail would be a weak point so I wanted to see what some copper braid could do.

Some artwork later:

Boom. 8A (2 amp gain!) Just shows how much resistance there were in the spring and connection to body. But still no 8,6A..

Need more art: :)

Boom! 0,2A more ^^

Charged up the battery to 4,2V...

Weee... 8,6A. :) This fell down towards 8A quite fast. But Im happy I got to see the full output (at peak). There would not have been any point in trying to do 9A++, which would have been harder to fit in the driver compartment as well.. This is in combination with XM-L2s..

The light is now really nice. My main thing to nitpick on would be the switch, or the rubber you press, its not the switch. In a ZY-T29 or similar light the rubber over the switch does not give you much resistance, which makes it easy to do the right amount of clicks for shortcuts and programming. With the SL-3 extra resistance, this becomes harder.

Besides that. The light and output is now SWEET! UI is great and so is output and modes. I can start it on superlow (by ramping/holding the button), I can start it with 100% output (doubleclick) or I can start it up normally by clicking it on and getting the last used mode, where I can easily change to 10% or 60%. And I can easily ramp the output up and down... I Also have short cut to battery monitoring (/beacon) by doing 3 fast clicks. Strobe,4 fast clicks. SOS, 5 fast clicks..

I love having lots of power but also the ability to properly control it and start up the light basically as I want it too.


Very impressed with the high current meter, did you make that yourself?

Nope. One of the Christmas presents from my brother. He made it for me.

At this amp range, it seems like my regular DMM with my short custom wires does the same job. I get the same reading, which is nice to know. But at 10A+ this meter should be better suited. Especially since it can do 50A. He tested it at 30A+.. J)

I don't think my other DMM can measure 15A continuous for some time without issues. And there is less resistance in the one my brother put together too.

Its nice having more than one meter when doing various driver tests too. :)

Wait so simply copper braiding the spring will make the SL-3 that much better? I have one sitting 3 feet from me with the MNKE inside it and I know I have some copper braiding in the bedroom somewhere. Never really looked into why modders used this but Im guessing its for transferring the energy of the battery better:

The copper braiding is to limit voltage sag. In order for the emitters to be driven at the right amps, they need a certain amount of volt. If the volt is not high enough, you can not reach the desired amount of amps.. In order for me to hit 6A+ with the Sony cell it was a needed mod (and I had already done the driver spring at that point).

The advantage the stock light would have with copper braid mod would be that it would be able to sustain peak amps (Peak amps is regulated to 4,5A stock) for a longer amount of time. If you see post "2" in this thread. Airwolf posted various measurements. Some of the batteries were not able to reach the stock 4,5A peak. With copper braided springs they probably would.... And the batteries that did 4,5A would probably be able to maintain that output for a longer amount of time with copper braided springs.

Basically all single cell/parallel XM-L(2) lights will stay within regulation longer with copper braided springs.

Very nice job! It is a sweet little light.

You are seriously (evil smiley) to your poor seriously abused led. I :heart_eyes: your driver mod. lt is pure 8) ness.

Thanks guys.

Abused leds? There are 3 of them.

Peak 8,6/3=2,86A. Technically they are not even overdriven..

I think the light handles the heat quite nicely. Better than I though considering the compact size of the light. In cold weather, I have no issues running it on 100% output.

I just realized that the measurements airwolf did was at the tail, not at the emitters. Either way, copper braiding helps,especially if you have a loose tailcap spring. I used a little bit of solder, but you could do the tail spring without any solder too. The body adds pressure to it once you squeeze it in there.

Nice mod, RaceR !

Performance loss by heating up more or less stopped being an issue on any light with copper boards is my experience. Nowadays, lights that are too hot to touch on the outside still output close to the same amount of light as start-up. If output drops are noticed, it is caused by the battery, not by the heating up.

2.86A/led, that would be 3000+ lumens OTF :-)

:smiley: I try this on my SL3 tonite.

If you try it in combination with a freshly charged cell that will give you 4,5A there will be no peak gain.

Easiest way to be sure to notice the difference is to use a cell that is drained (say to 3,6V) and measure difference before and after you have added copper braid (either light output or amps at the emitters).