Ultrafire UF-980 tweaks that I did plus a warning on using IMR's

So I got my 980 from Manafont this week... I took it apart and did my usual tweaks. I shimmed the reflector to try to focus out a noticeable doughnut hole, with a very thin metal sheet between the reflector and pill. Threads on the pill are loose so I applied a layer of copper tape on the threads so the pill screws in with some resistance for a change.

So far, so good.

Then I did the same tweak I did with my Solarforces-soldered a flat copper rivet into the spring on the clicky for better contact and to avoid batteries from getting chewed up. Added GITD boot 'cause Foy's light looks so good with it.

I had tried different batteries... AW protected 2200mah delivered ~2.6A... I'm thinking, WTF? A check with an AW IMR delivered the 4.5A everyone talked about.

Well, with the switch tweak I couldn't wait to try 'er out. IMR goes in, screw tailcap down, switch on, and the dreaded flash and everything died. You know the world-just-ended feeling when that happens! Right after I spent hours getting it all "just right."

Seems my switch tweak is just enough to drive the emitter past the point of failure. The driver was fine and the emitter was killed instantly. Fortunately I had another light I swiped another XM-L out of so I changed it right then and there, using Arctic Alumina. NOTE: The original star only had paste under it, and not very much!! I definitely recommend reworking the pill to add more, better yet, use AA to glue it in.

Foy was right-it is an absolute bastard to get the pill and reflector just right so the O-ring doesn't get smashed. I tried working from the driver end, leaving the reflector in, but I still had to take the lens/reflector out to get it right because when I screwed the tube in, the pill twisted along with it when the tube made contact and mashed the O-ring anyway.

So here's my thoughts:

1) Don't do IMR!! I've been your guinea pig.

2) If you're mod-challenged or have a bad temper, leave well alone and don't mess with the reflector or O-ring.

3) I'm anal and have to get everything "just so." The light is very capable right out of the package without doing anything to it.

4) I'm not crazy about this driver, it obviously sends full battery current through the emitter when on high... all of my Solarforces with Shiningbeam drivers modded to 4.2A and regular use of IMR's work fine on high.

5) I still love this light... it's definitely the best looking light I have. I ordered another one 'cause I wanna try a spritz job on the reflector... and.. well.. I just want another!

What are your thoughts?


No comments?

I had a feeling someone was going to fry an emitter with this driver. After my driver melted I took one out of a Manafont Ultrafire 3 mode drop-in and it had the exact same driver, so someone somewhere will eventually put an AW IMR in one of those and fry that emitter as well. Thanks for the heads up, I really don't feel like rebuilding this light again so I will keep mine away from the AW IMRs. Here's a picture of the driver in case you are interested.

Did you try any other protected batteries and get better draw? Seems like you should still get 3.5-4.0A with a good (but not IMR) battery.

I bet I struggled with that damn pill for 30 minutes. I suppose it may be remotely possible to somehow note/mark or otherwise measure exactly how far the pill is screwed in on your new 980L so you can screw it back where it was. And, I think you may be right about your tail cap spring mod pushing current just a tad over the top . . . no way to know perhaps but the reason I think you're right is when I'm measuring draw at the tail cap, if I push the electrode on the battery real hard (compressing the battery forward against the driver spring) I can make the amps jump higher considerably.

However, what I really like about your post is how much you like this light. This is exactly what I was talking about in my review and elsewhere; for flashaholics, this is a crazy-cool torch. E1320 blew out his driver and he still likes the light. You fried your emitter so, what do you do? Order another UF-980L!! Why? Because this is one hell of a flashlight.

I guess I've been lucky - my 980L has performed flawlessly on every battery I feed it.

The doubters/haters of this kind of a flashlight will never get it and that's the other thing I like about it; it tends to be quite polarizing. So dang much fun, I smile every time I think about it.


Ah... I changed the title to something more descriptive... thought that'd do it!

I put a solder blob on an AW 2600mah flat top and got 3.2 A out of that. This gives me any more trouble, the driver goes and I'll put in an upgraded Shiningbeam.

The tail spring mod had to do it... before that I was using the IMR but it got warm fast. Not gonna risk that again. To the eye I really don't see a difference anyway on outdoor tests. But there is a better hotspot because I shimmed the reflector to reduce the doughnut hole.

Just for the record, I have ~15 L2P's with XP-G triples and single XML's, all with SB drivers and I use IMR's with all of them flawlessly-so don't fear IMR's in the right configuration.


I've been resisting ordering this light, especialliy since I got the TK41.

But dayam, you guys are making my PayPal finger twitchy. Foy, I don't know if I can hold out for the shootout!


Oh man . . . if you only knew how many times I have experienced the exact same thing. See people talking about a light that looks cool, tell myself how stupid it is to order it for a week or two and then order it and curse myself for not pulling the trigger sooner and having to wait that much longer!

You have to accept what kind of light you're getting with the 980L. It comes dialed in just below self-destruct so, just like a big-block Camaro; you may have to open the hood now and then. I must be dodging the rain-drops however, 'cause mine has been completely trouble-free.


What worries me Foy, is that yours appears to be the only one so far that has survived without replacing key internal parts (driver or emitter).

I'm only aware of three folks here who have one, and a 66% failure rate is not something that interests me, even though the others who had theirs fail still gave it great reviews! Not all of us have soldering equipment or skills that would let us resurrect a light when internals go **poof**

That is what is making the decision difficult...especially since it is at the high end of the budget spectrum.

Totally understand. Should have a lot more reliability at $41.


Plus I'm looking at a group buy on a green laser that may cost me about $70....

This is what happens when you run direct draw on emitters designed for at most medium sized Li-co's with IMR's.

Actually I did mention not to put in any 18650 IMRs in one of the UF-980L posts. They crazy little buggers can initially provide > 10As. My small little 18500 which is only 1400mAH can supply nearly 5A for a couple of good minutes (I don't have to do any DMM readings because its a 445 laser, it will flash if the current drops). For the regulated lights, it can easily sustain 3.x amps for a good 10 minutes.

Thanks for the warnings. I've got my first IMR and it helps to know what they can do.