Transformation T̶u̶e̶s̶d̶a̶y Saturday - Convoy S8 Mod - Updated 1/17/16

Here is the “before” picture

I’ll list what I’ve done to it in chronological order. Sorry there aren’t more pictures, I always forget to take them as I work.

I put a lot of work into this light.
I think it is cool and unique.

1. This started out as a quick, easy, and cheap triple build. I bought a Convoy S5 host, a Nichia Triple from KD, an aluminum spacer from RMM, and assembled one of wight’s PZL drivers. I was immediately disappointed in the S5. The threads were very gritty, and nothing fit together quite right. When I did get it assembled, I was also dissappointed by the tint and output of the KD Nichias. This project got canned.

2. About a week later, I decided to try again. This time instead of going cheap and easy, I decided to go all out and do everything I wanted to. I ordered an S8 host, 3xp 20mm noctigon, Carlco triple optic, two XP-L V6 1A’s, and one XP-E deep (photo) red.

3. I was planning on using a slightly modified PZL driver to control the two different LED channels (White and Red), and mentioned something in the driver thread. It wouldn’t have worked how I wanted it to, so wight actually made a new driver just so this type of build was possible. The first driver I assembled had some kind of weird internal short that I still haven’t figured out. I think it was a manufacturing error with Oshpark, because the second driver I assembled worked perfectly. The driver has six 7135’s on the bottom, and three on top. I stacked 3 more on the top ones for a total of 12. Ten of those supply power to the XP-L’s in parallel, and the other two supply the red XP-E. I used 380ma 7135’s, so when everything is on it should be around 4.5amps.

4. A few days after I finished the driver, the rest of my parts arrived. I dedomed the XP-L’s in gas. They came out a decent tint, but not my favorite. I reflowed all 3 led’s on the noctigon together, but later I had to redo the XP-E because I didn’t realize the XP-E bond wires are on the opposite side as the XP-L. I also soldered the wires on the noctigon at this point. I used 20awg silicone for the LED pos and XP-L neg, and 24awg for the XP-E neg.

5. I configured the LVP with TK’s voltage test firmware, So I get a warning at 3v and shut off at 2.8v. Then I went to work on the normal firmware. TK released the blf-a6 firmware just a few days before I started this, so I used that. I disabled all of the hidden modes (Strobe, battcheck/beacon), and plugged in my numbers for the LVP. This firmware allows for 2 mode groups that can be toggled. My first mode group is: Moon(red) > Low(white) > Med(white) > High(white) > High(red). The second group is: Moon(red) > Low(All) > Med(All) > High(All). You can definitely see the tint warm up with with red mixed in, but it doesn’t blend very much at close range. It also does some cool things to shadows. At certain angles you will see a white light with normal black shadows, but with the shadow edged/highlighted in pure red.

6. Time to assemble! Since I had already drilled a hole in the middle of the S5 pill, I used that one instead of drilling the S8 pill. The S5 pill is roomier inside anyways, and I needed all the room I could get with the 3 wires. I didn’t use the glass lens, just the Carlco on the outside. I used Arctic Ceramique between the mcpcb and spacer and pill. Soldering the emitter wires to the driver was a huge pain. The Led+ and secondary Led- are VERY close together, and I made it much worse by cutting my emitter wires too short. Just getting them soldered correctly took about 15 frustrating minutes. I’m all out of little driver springs, So I cut a small peice of solid core copper wire (I think it was 10awg) and soldered it on the back of the driver. I used 22awg silicone wire on the tail spring.

7. Light! I must say, as soon as I switched it on I was impressed with myself. Modes worked great, the deep-red XP-E is beautiful and not as irritating to the eyes as the standard red color. My last few lights used FET drivers, so I was expecting this regulated light to be dimmer than it ended up. The aluminum spacer from RMM really soaks in the heat, it takes longer to get hot than my M2 does at about the same current.

8. I was happy with it for about 3 days, then I started noticing that the bezel on the S8 was kinda sharp. I don’t really EDC a light (blasphemy, I know) but if I had to carry one this would be it. I didn’t want the bezel putting holes in my clothes if I did decide to carry it regularly. I decided to grind down the bezel with my dremel. I was worried that I would hate the look after the ano was gone off the front, so if it looked terrible I would just strip off the rest of the ano and go nude 8) . I got to work with the rough sanding drum attachment and got it down close to level with the bezel, then a little further with a finer drum. Then I placed a peice of semi-rough (i don’t know what grit) sandpaper on the flat counter, and dragged the light head-down over the paper until I was satisfied it was all level. I did this again with a finer grit to smooth it out a bit. The edge was still a bit sharp, so I took the dremel again and sanded a slight bevel around the edge.

9. I was really pleased with how it turned out. The edge was soft, no snags, and the sliver bezel reminded me a lot of my M2. However, I already had it in my mind that I wanted to “Chrome it out”. I disassmbled the whole light: head, switch, o-rings, everything. I soaked each piece individually in Greased Lightning, and while one peice was soaking I was polishing a different piece with Mother’s Mag polish. Between soaking, brushing with a brass brush, soaking some more, polishing and cleaning, It took a full gallon of GL and about 8 hours of work to get it to a good level of shine, and even after all of that there is still some ano hiding between the fins on the S8 head. I used melted candle wax and vaseline to mask the tail threads, and it worked great. Tail lock-out still works.

10. This had already turned into my “flagship” light, so I decided it was perfect for the lighted tailcap project I have been working on. I added a 560ohm resistor on the driver, 5.6kohm in the tail, and two 1.8mm led’s. The tailcap glows blue when the light is off, and when the light is on the ‘tailllight’ is off. The tail lockout stops the very tiny battery drain if I don’t need it.

There she is. I think it turned out great. I just love the feel of the warm, bare aluminum.

1/17/16 Update

This light is still the one I grab when i want to show off a light to muggles, but there were a few little things that were keeping me from grabbing it when I actually needed a flashlight. So tonight, I did a total rebuild.

  • Swapped out the optic from a narrow spot clear to a narrow spot frosted to smooth out the square projection of the dies. Also got rid of the yucky green o-ring on the front, replaced with a black one I found it my parts box. gitd just looks cheap to me.
  • Swapped one of the XP-L’s for a new one that has a bit better tint, and I swapped the other XP-L for a dedomed XP-G2 to get back the throw I lost with the frosted optic.
  • Got rid of the FET+1 driver, and put in the first of my TripleDown drivers. It has 2*7135 controlling the Red XP-E, 3*7135 for low and a non-PWM medium mode, and FET turbo. So there is only PWM on 2 of the 5 modes, and it’s at such a low output you wouldn’t ever notice.
  • In the tail I kept the blue led’s, but they are on the new Rev4 lighted tailcap PCB. I have two brightness settings now, one that is a little brighter than before that I can use when i’m showing off in the daylight, and a lower setting that is more practical in real use. I just flip a switch in the tail spring to change brightness.
  • I kept the tail magnet, but sunk the switch boot down further so that the magnet makes better contact and sticks much stronger than it did before.
  • Finished it off by giving it a brighter polish than it had originally.

What an amazing build and even more amazing result. I admire your abilities with the electronic side of things which is totally beyond me. Thanks for sharing the story. It was a terrific read.

That’s a cool build.

Good to see you incorporating the work you did with the tailcap.

Well done. :beer: :beer:

+1 XP-E deep (photo) red

great build!

Very original and well done. Nice.

Nice build.

Looks awesome, love the bare aluminum color and the lighted tail cap is just great.

Bezel looks like it was made that way.
Convoy needs to make an Authorized “Pilotdog68” Special Limited Edition!
You called it the “Flagship Light” in the OP.

No changes needed or allowed :slight_smile:
Sign me up.

Here’s the Group buy list so far;

  1. Muto Qty 3

Very nicely done, top to bottom!

Now, tell me something. (this comes from my own time consuming elbow grease depleting adventures) How much would it cost to make those for sale? Totally wrecks the “budget” concept, does it not? If you only expected $10 and hour, labor costs alone would have it well over $100, right? Add in parts, materials and any kind of profit…what’s that… a $185 light? Yeah, adds up fast doesn’t it?

Well done, you should really be proud of that and the rest of us drool in our keyboards with jealousy…

You need to keep quiet on those details……

My wife knows I spent $10 on the host… and that’s all she knows. :wink:

But to partially answer you and muto, I would never make these to sell. Even starting with a pre-made host this was far too much work to willingly go through multiple times. Plus, once there is more than 1, it’s much less cool.

Mouth zipped. :smiley:

I was just busing your chops, that light is all You man.
Thanks for sharing the build.



Thanks for all the kind words guys

Love that mod! The lamp looks very sexy with the bare silver body and glowing blue cap.

Amazing build. The amount of quality work going on by guys on this forum continues to amaze me!

” Hello, Mrs. PilotDog? Yes, I’m calling about a light your husband recently purchased. It seems that there’s a factory defect that causes the anodization to fall off, and the rear switch appears faulty.

Yes, we’re very worried this made it through quality control. If you don’t mind, I’m emailing you a fedex label now to our local collection agent, and am authorized to paypal you no less than TWICE the original sale price.

You have a very good day too, ma’am ”

Very nice job on the light. Lots of lights out there but only one just like this.

That is really nice. I love it when an intricate build comes together.

Thanks. I just re-did the tail led with the new board and added one of those ring magnets from banggood.

Very nice build! Any chance I could get the .c code you used as I’m attempting something a little similar but I can’t get the firmware to work.