Old Lumens 2020 Modded Light Category Entry
This was a mod I have wanted to do for a long time, but life has gotten in the way. My project host is an old DQG Tiny III 18650. This light was my main work light for a couple of years and held up well. Simple UI, no flashy modes and a really long runtime with very decent output made it a winner for my needs. The stock clip was actually great on a hard-hat as well. I dropped it one day, after many, many hours and it just did not ever turn on again. I fiddled around a bit, could not see anything really wrong with the parts I could see. I had swapped out the stock TIR for a wide beam TIR, but I had never been able to get the head off the body.
I had seen the thread from Firelight2 HERE and wanted to do a triple in this light. Not for insane output, but efficiency and a great beam, plus the ability to swap optics if I wanted. Life gets in the way, I hung up flashlight stuff for quite a while, a couple of years actually.
Recently, I grabbed a few of the Thrunite Ti3’s they had on the $6 shipping special. The emitter on the NW one was green… I had some time, needed some stress relief and so I dug out my stuff from flashlights and decided to do an emitter swap, easy enough, right? Well, soldering is a skill, and skills degrade, but I got through it. This led me to digging through my stuff and finding the DQG Tiny III again. I decided to see if I could take it apart. I had nothing to lose at this point, so I held the head with the switch side away from the flame in the burner of my gas stove for a few seconds. I clamped the head in some leather in a vice and put a strap wrench to the body. No dice… Well, more heat I guess… This time, it was successful! I had the head off, and there was a ton of glue in the threads…
Now to start picking through my stuff I had not seen in a couple of years. I found a triple board that I had sanded down the edges to fit a 16340 project that never completed. It had Nichia 219C 4000K 90+ CRI emitters according to the baggie.
I found a driver marked “Qlite E-switch” that was an 8 x 7135 driver of some sort, was not sure of the firmware, but I needed an e-switch driver, so that is good, but it was only 17mm size, and the DQG had about a 21mm board originally. I dug around and found a brass ring that is 20mm with a shelf for a 17mm driver, perfect!
I looked at the head space and decided to do some test fitting. I had to file the MCPCB even more to get it to fit. I then soldered the driver into the brass ring, my solder skills needed some refreshing. I hit up MtnElectronics.com to see if I could figure out the places for the e-switch to attach. Found pin 2 on the CPU and any ground point, set that all up and bench tested it with a battery and an LED alligator clipped to the driver.
The UI was the Starlite UI, with five modes. Quick press to low, then quick press up through five modes and back to off. Long press takes it to high, then a long press walks you back through the five levels. This would work great, two more levels than the original UI and it can be stepped up or down.
Now about the original clip, it was lost somewhere along the way. I found an old Armytek headlamp clip, I had to sand the legs narrower, but it fit after this modification, fantastic.
Parts all in place, now the fun began. I had to figure out a way to get the space from the MCPCB and the board to stay the same, so I needed to make a shelf that I could slip in the head. I found an old aluminum pill from the 16340 light project. Looked good, I had a hole drilled in the center already, so I threaded a bolt and nut in there, chucked it in my battery operated drill and went to town with a file. It took a while, but I got it down to a decent slip fit in the head. I cut it longer than I needed, and filed it to the height I thought would keep the optics as far down as possible in the light. I had to cut a relief cut to miss the e-switch wires, the switch was not recessed enough for this and there was no via to route the wires back.
This made the shelf a bit less of a slip fit, so I had to shim it in place with some copper foil I had. Now I also had to solder a 16mm mcpcb to the back of the modified triple MCPCB for more of a heatsink. I drilled a hole in the center and sanded off the insulating layer. The hard part was lining them up and soldering them together. I used a copper sheet on a stove burner to do this, and cooled them with a damp rag to get the solder to set once they were lined up.
Time for a trial run.
So far, so good.
I filed one edge of the MCPCB at an angle so it would not short across the e-switch.
I decided to make it a mule temporarily. I cut a ring from an old piece of flashlight body that fit around the MCPCB and found a lens that would work, I had to trim it a bit, but it was a polycarbonate lens, so this was easy with sandpaper. Soldered in the MCPCB and gave it a run.
SUCCESS!!! Well, as a mule… But I had some issues… The optics would not sit down enough, so I had to trim the shelf insert down about fifty thousandths. I had to file the optic legs to get them to fit in the head.
I took it back apart and shortened the shelf, now the optics sat deep enough, but I lost the moonlight mode…
This is my current point in the project, I can bench test the driver, I have all modes. I put it all together, I lose the low mode and the other modes work. Or low just continually flickers. I will get back to this project next week and finish the troubleshooting, I have a busy rest of the week. I am thinking it is a ground issue as the flickering is only on low, and it would make sense that the other modes are not affected with a bad ground, but I will take any suggestions…