Shadow JM26 and TC 500 custom builds.

Hey all,

Finally getting around to posing these. I'm not sure if there are take apart threads on these lights yet or not, but I figured I would add mine to the bunch either way :)

Let me start by saying, I really really like these hosts. They both feel like 150 dollar lights in your hand. The machining quality is impeccable. The reflector is amazing, and the over all design is good too. Beyond that the color of the bodies is almost like a surefire which happens to be one of my personal favorite.

Anyway all that said there is still much room for improvement with the output and especially the user interface.

The JM26 is a straight e switch and the TC 500 is a dual. IIRC the factor UI for the 26 was like press and hold for on. Additional clicks got you h,m,l and 2 fast would give strobe. No memory always starting on high.

The TC 500 was the same accept for the tail switch lock out, but even then you always got high when you turned it on :(

The emitters were first gen cree XML.

These lights are simple to get apart. The bezels unscrew and are not epoxied, and there is a retaining ring that holds the drivers in.

The TC 500 has a spring and a buck driver with a large inductor on the top. The JM26 does not have a spring. Its driver is a 7135 based driver similar to a nanjg105C

The switch is actually attached right to the PCB on both models. I kept that and removed all the other components on the both.

The JM26 had a flat peice of plastic with a brass nipple which is counter sunk into the pastic for a revers polarity protection. This means 26650s do not make contact at the + end :( While I had them apart I removed some material from that one.

In the top end we find a Maxtoch 32mm aluminum board.

Even though there are set screws the board was still glued down so in order to remove it without harming the metal surface I enlisted some help.

With that done I installed a copper 32mm board with a de-domed XML2 U4 in the JM26. For some reason the copper boards are not as thick as the aluminum ones, and in this case it effected the focus. The reflector would not sit down on the centering ring so I reflowed the mcpcb to a 32mm copper disc I had.

For the TC 500 I used the new Cree XHP-35 C4 HI. I did not have a 32mm mcpcb with an XPG foot print so I use a 20mm SinkPad and machined a spacer with a bottom plate on it the appropriate thickness ( about .020 IIRC)

I removed all the components from both of the factory drivers accept the switch and installed a mosfet driver for each.

The UI for the JM26 is Tom_Es e-switch version of the Star Code which is a favorite of mine. I extended the window for changing the modes on start up and the output values but that is about it. Its now a 5 mode that defaults to low, but has instant access to high and strobe as well. 1 click on, one click off.

The TC500 has Jonny Cs dual switch firmware. 5 mode, and the tail switch for a lock out. Comes on in what ever mode it was left in.

All back together now.

Both lights were used in some extensive tests in the XHP-35 thread which I will not fully repost here.

Test results on fresh batteries at one minute runtime

JM26 1326 lumens, 238,500 lux, 4.6amp

TC 500 1616 lumens, 203,750 lux, 2.6 amps

The beam from these superb reflectors is very nice. The hot spots are both very round and smooth. There is a tiny bit more "fuzz" around the hot spots in real life, but this picture is close.

Left is TC500

So they are both fairly similar. The XML2 gives more lux, but the XHP-35 delivers more lumens. The beam on the XML2 is more lazer like because the spill with the 35 is much brighter.


Beam shots.



Now farther out. Those trees are about 400 feet IIRC.



Hope you all enjoyed

That was pretty cool to read!

How are you powering the TC500? 4x 18350s? I read the other link, I didn’t see anything other than 12v is needed.

Hi Keithd,

That is correct. 4x 18350s. These emitters are 12V so what I have been doing is setting the PWM level on the driver down just a bit to keep the max current at the needed level. However in this case I did not even have to lower the PWM, the sag from the 18350s and resistance from the switch was enough to keep it where it needs to be.

Thanks for sharing. Exactly the build I was looking for with the JM26. TomE version UI is my favorite too. One click to turn off after a few seconds right?

Great builds!

I just saw your website vesture…

…and now I’m drooling. :wink:

Beam shots are in place now.

Nice work. Are you machining from the back on your lathe? Which do you prefer?

I cross cut from the back 99% of the time. Some short motions I will turn diameter down running on the back side moving the carriage toward the chuck end of the lathe. Any turning, knurling, or outside threading I do from the front.

What do you do?

Most of the time whatever works. Mainly everything from the front. Occasionally from the back if I have a boring bar in and want to turn a small piece. To be honest most of what I do is wrong but works. I did make a holder up many years ago to part of from the back but it failed to part of without threatening to cause pain to something or someone.

vesture_of_blood, I always wanted to know how the jm26 would do with an updated emitter and more cilurrent because it has a nice big reflector.

Great job on those two Shadows. Exactly why I want one of these hot rodded.

Very nice work as usual! You literally machined all the parts when you need them! :open_mouth:

It looks like the XHP 35 is not much of a gain compared to dedomed XM-L2 and XP-L HI, not only that the XHP 35 requires too many things (“special driver” and lotsa batteries) to make it work. Unless we can drive the XHP 35 up to 3.0A and above to have a 2600 lumens sick thrower, otherwise I don’t think it worth all the hassle and cost to use it.

I have a TC 500 that I’d like to try with an XHP 50 but not sure what driver to use. I’d like to keep the side switch for normal operation using the tail switch for lock out like your set-up.

You only mention you used a mosfet driver, is it an off the shelf unit or something you programmed yourself? If off the shelf do you mind sharing where you got it?

Hi itinifni,

I build my own version of the 1 sided BLFDD driver. In weights thread I posted the link for the OSH park board and the BOM. One of RMMs pre made 17mm FET drivers would be about the same thing.

The firmware I used was a version of JonnyCs dual switch. I left every thing about the same on it accept IRRC I think I changed the number of modes.

If you build your own drivers I can send you a micro with the firmware on it, if not I could sell a complete driver. I don't have this driver listed on the website, but you can message me if you want one.

Hey vestureofblood, I just replaced the stock emitter with the same one as you on my JM26. Did you do any kind of focusing with the centering ring, or did you just throw it all together and go? I get a horrible ring around the hotspot on mine now, but I don’t see that ring on your wall shot. Also, I really don’t even see how there is any way to do much focusing anyhow with this thing. Just curious as to how you got such a clean looking beam. Thanks.

Nice work BTW. Your thread is what made me decide to mod mine further. Oh, and how in the heck did you get that stock mcpcb outta there? I heated mine up the same way, but that thing was stuck. It got so hot I just ended up reflowing the XML on it while still attached.

Hi Willy,

I am really not sure why you would be getting different focus if you still used the factory MCPBC and isolator.

I had to tweak the focus of mine slightly by raising the height of the MCPCB, but only because the copper Maxtochs are about .020" thinner that the aluminum ones.

There is a very very faint ring around the hot spot of my emitter if you get within about 5 feet of the wall, otherwise the beam is basically like seen in the picture. The only thing I can think that might be causing yours to have that ring is if the LED isolator is not sitting high enough up in the reflector to keep light from hitting the edge of the emitter hole. If I take the isolator out of mine it will give a bad ring.

If the isolator will not sit up in there far enough to fix it perhaps running a black sharpie around the very inside rim of the emitter hole would help?

EDIT: If you got the head hot enough to melt solder it was hot enough to loosen the glue bond. Mine was hard to get out too so I took needle nose pliers and put where the cut ins for the wire are and gave it a hard twist. Just gotta be careful not to scratch the base. This was done with it clamped in the vice between 2 blocks of wood.

Ah, I think you hit the nail on the head. I believe my solder points are a little high and, as you stated, it’s leaving a very slight ledge of the reflector showing above the isolator. I’ll flatten the points down a bit and see if that fixes things. Thanks for responding.

Wow - I missed this thread. Nice mods!!