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Thread: Upgrade a MagLED to SSC P4 – a Tutorial with pictures

  1. #1
    Flashaholic* Cydonia's Avatar
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    Smile Upgrade a MagLED to SSC P4 – a Tutorial with pictures

    This has got to be the best price to performance ratio upgrade you can do with a Maglite.

    SSC Seoul P4 (U-bin) SW0 Bare Emitter $6.95US from DealExtreme
    here with Worldwide free shipping. (Update: SSC P4 now only $5.12 at DX)


    So for only $6.95 US from DealExtreme you can just about double the output from your feeble MagLED module. (Update: SSC P4 now only $5.12 at DX)
    Sure it still dims down 50% after a while... but while dim it is as bright as a stock MagLED in the first minutes of operation!


    Tools I used: (You can improvise with others)
    • Steady hand and patience (essential)
    • soldering iron – I used an old variable heat GE iron
    • tweezers
    • forceps (locking)
    • small flat blade screwdriver
    • sharp pointed wire cutters
    • Arctic Alumina Expoxy (For electrical isolation of the SSC P4’s + base)
    • toothpicks to mix Arctic Alumina Epoxy
    • hammer
    • 14 gauge copper wire (a few inches/cm)
    • barbell plate (for hammering the copper wire flat)
    • red sharpie marker
    • Q tips and isopropyl alcohol
    • Maglite to hold the MagLED module while you work on it!

    Step 1: Place MagLED into Maglite.

    Step 2: Mark one side of the LED and MagLED metal case with red marker – determine polarity with digital volt meter while LED is running. (or see step 13 if you don’t have a meter)

    Step 3: Use small flat blade screwdriver to loosen original LED from MagLED. The white thermal paste they use is very soft. Should only take a few seconds to pry the LED up and away.

    Step 4: Clean away all the old white paste residue with a small flat blade screwdriver. Make sure none of the white crumbs fall into the LED pin sockets!

    Step 5: Q tip and alcohol away any film of white thermal paste left on MagLED


    Step 6: Take a short 1/4 inch (6mm or so) piece of solid copper wire and hammer it flat on a hard smooth clean metal surface. A barbell plate worked well. Hammer the wire flat and keep checking that it has flattened out to the width of the leads on the LED you removed from the MagLED.

    Step 7: When the copper pieces are flat to the right thickness and width as the leads on the LED you removed, use tweezers or forceps to plug the new copper leads into the MagLED. They go in a long way, about 4mm I guess (3/16 maybe).

    Step 8: When both copper pieces are stood up in the MagLED module, mark them with a red marker where they are flush with the edge of the magLED module. You want the new copper tabs to be almost lost down inside the sockets.

    Step 9: Remove copper tabs and cut them where you marked them.

    Step 10: Semi-Optional Step – you can then place the copper tabs back into the MagLED module, checking that they fit well, are of even height and flushness with the edge of the module metal sides. If not, trip again, or hammer flat a new piece of copper if too much is trimmed off.

    Step 11: Take the SSC P4 and find the side that has the tiny tab with a cut out crescent shape. That’s the Cathode or negative side. Mark it black if you want. Mark the other side red.

    Step 12: Take the SSC P4 LED with tweezers and cut off the long leads. Cut them off so that only a short piece remains. You’ll end up an SSC P4 LED with only 4 stumps (the other 2 stumps were there all along, the polarity marker tabs).

    Step 13: Take the old Luxeon LED that you removed. It should be marked on one side in red (or whatever color you marker you had). The MagLED module is also marked in the same color on the corresponding side. Now apply 3v from 2 batteries in a holder to the Luxeon LED on its own. Determine polarity this way. The marked side of the MagLED will be same as the LED.

    Step 14: Clamp a copper tab in forceps and place on the table. Clean the copper with alcohol and Q tip to remove any oils from handling. Apply a thin solder film on the tip edges and sides of the copper tab. Repeat with the other copper tab.

    Step 15: Clamp the SSC P4 with forceps in such a way that it is its on edge, with the metal base facing towards you. With soldering iron ready, and a copper tab held with tweezers, place the copper tab against the SSC P4. The copper tab fits perfectly against the plastic LED body, below the short metal tab stumps.
    The copper tab must be square to the SSC body, not crooked
    One quick motion of the soldering iron deposits a piece of solder between the copper and the SSC tabs.

    Step 16: Repeat with the other side.

    Step 17: Noting the SSC polarity, insert the new LED onto the MagLED. Check it aligns. If not, some minor bending should suffice.

    Step 18: Once it has been confirmed that the new SSC and its copper tabs are spaced correctly for the MagLED slots, and that the copper leads are oriented correctly in both axis…

    Step 19: Mix the Arctic Alumina Thermal Adhesive

    Step 20: With the new SSC LED aligned and started in the slots, apply the Arctic Alumina with a toothpick into the gap between the SSC and MagLED. Use small metal flat blade screwdriver to alternately press down the new SSC on each side. Slowly press the new SSC into place once the Arctic Alumina is underneath. Use a little paste at first, you can always add more after if it appears more is needed. Although, you only have a few minutes to work with!

    With some luck all will be well! Before the Arctic Alumina sets… load up the Maglite with batteries and test the new MagLED. If it doesn’t light up, for whatever reason, most probably a poor connection with the new copper tabs, then you have just destroyed the MagLED circuitry! Without a load attached, the circuit dies. Game Over.

    Is it worth it? Yes. It turns the MagLED into a much more potent option.
    And it is not a permanent mod that ruins the Maglite itself. Future upgrades are assured as well.
    Just repeat this LED swap procedure later on with the next great LED!


    = = = = = = = =































    Last edited by Cydonia; 12-09-2008 at 11:33 AM. Reason: To place the pictures back into the original post.

  2. #2
    Flashaholic* nanotech17's Avatar
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    Default Re: Upgrade a MagLED to SSC P4 – a Tutorial with pictures

    Thanks for the info-knowledge.
    That is one cool mode



  3. #3
    Flashaholic* ace0001a's Avatar
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    Default Re: Upgrade a MagLED to SSC P4 – a Tutorial with pictures

    Neat

  4. #4

    Default Re: Upgrade a MagLED to SSC P4 – a Tutorial with pictures

    Isn't the heatsinking capacity of the MagLED atrocious?? Couldn't there really be some issues with overheating when running 1000mA in this type of setup.

  5. #5
    Flashaholic* 2xTrinity's Avatar
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    Default Re: Upgrade a MagLED to SSC P4 – a Tutorial with pictures

    Quote Originally Posted by wintermute View Post
    Isn't the heatsinking capacity of the MagLED atrocious?? Couldn't there really be some issues with overheating when running 1000mA in this type of setup.
    The heatsinking in the maglite itself is terrible, but unlike the aftermarket alternatives, the MagLED at least has thermal feedback -- it will dim itself in response to heat and push lower current if it gets ridiculously hot. For "C" size maglites, one option is to get Download's MagCTower which replaces the plastic bulb-holder piece with an anodized aluminum part designed to transfer heat to the outside of the light. Using the magLED with this part installed, the bulb will not get as hot, and as a result will stay at maximum output for much longer.

    I am using the MagCTower both with my Terralux drop-in in a 3C mag, and in a 2C ROP incan, in order to retain cam focusing action on both (If focusing is not required, there are easier options -- with LEDs I can simply use a static heatsink, with incan I can use a fixed bulb-holder).
    Last edited by 2xTrinity; 07-15-2007 at 10:54 AM.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Upgrade a MagLED to SSC P4 – a Tutorial with pictures

    Do all MagLED modules die if there is no load connected? Is this true with the 2D MagLED? I am afraid I might not get it the first time and fry it. Thanks. And I tried searching but can this also be done with a Edison Opto klc8? And if yes, would I have to isolate the slug?

  7. #7

    Default Re: Upgrade a MagLED to SSC P4 – a Tutorial with pictures

    Oh and is there any quick way of telling if the slug is completely isolated or how can you make sure that it is completely isolated?

  8. #8
    Flashaholic* divine's Avatar
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    Default Re: Upgrade a MagLED to SSC P4 – a Tutorial with pictures

    Has anyone done a runtime test on a setup like this?

  9. #9
    *Flashaholic* Gunner12's Avatar
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    Default Re: Upgrade a MagLED to SSC P4 – a Tutorial with pictures

    Should be similar to the stock MagLED.

  10. #10
    Flashaholic* copperfox's Avatar
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    Default Re: Upgrade a MagLED to SSC P4 – a Tutorial with pictures

    I have just done a couple of these mods, and I'd like to reiterate some points that Cydonia made.

    • As Cydonia said, patience is essential; so don't hurry.

    • Be sure to form your copper tabs to be as close in size and shape as the leads coming off of the luxeon emitter you are replacing. If they are too long, the emitter won't insert all the way. If they are too fat or too thick, the emitter won't go in easily (or at all). I used a piece of 150 (perhaps 100) grit sandpaper to wear them down to the correct size and thickness. It IS possible to shorten the copper tabs once you have already soldered them to the emitter; just use needle nose pliers and be gentle (the copper bends easily when it gets that thin).

    • As shown in the pictures, cut and bend the leads of the SSC emitter so that the copper tab can fit snugly underneath it, right up against the black plastic emitter base.

    • Keep your soldering tip clean. A dirty/oxidized tip is a real pain to work with and will make this job quite frustrating. A clean tip makes all the difference. Trust me.

    • Tin (melt solder onto) the shortened anode and cathode on the emitter as well as the copper tabs SEPARATELY before trying to join the pieces. The copper will likely take slightly more heat in order to get the solder flowing, and you don't want to submit the emitter's plastic base to any more heat than necessary. Tin the two sides separately, then join them by melting the solder together.

    • The red sharpie really is invaluable.

    • If you squirt too much arctic alumina (either part A or B) out of the syringe, it is possible to suck some back into the tube by holding the tip of the syringe directly on the glob of goo and then pulling back on the plunger gently. This helps reduce waste (and saves you money).
    Last edited by copperfox; 02-01-2008 at 08:07 AM.


  11. #11
    Flashaholic*
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    Default Re: Upgrade a MagLED to SSC P4 – a Tutorial with pictures

    I just did this tonight on my 4D MagLED drop-in. I reused the leads from the Luxeon that was in the original drop-in instead of making new ones out of copper. I just broke them off and soldered them to the leads of the SSC P4.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Upgrade a MagLED to SSC P4 – a Tutorial with pictures

    Quote Originally Posted by johnny13oi View Post
    Oh and is there any quick way of telling if the slug is completely isolated or how can you make sure that it is completely isolated?
    I found that the slug on the bottom of the SSC was shorting out to the metal below it despite using Arctic Silver Alumina "Epoxy" under the LED. I guess I pressed too hard. So, I took the LED out, scraped off all the epoxy before it was completely hard, and then put a very thin layer of the epoxy over the metal body. Once that dried I used a normal thermal compound and put the LED back in.

    Specifically to your questions, if you have a multimeter you can check once you put the LED in by measuring between the body of the drop-in and each of the leads on the LED. You should have isolation between the positive side, and have continuity between the negative side and the metal body. Alternatively you can check for continuity between the two leads of the LED.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Upgrade a MagLED to SSC P4 – a Tutorial with pictures

    Is it necessary to use the arctic alumina adhesive to insulate the led? I have some arctic alumina cermique which is also electrically inslative, but lacks the adhesive functions. Would this work, or will it bleed out or provide lesser insulation?

  14. #14
    Flashaholic*
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    Default Re: Upgrade a MagLED to SSC P4 – a Tutorial with pictures

    Quote Originally Posted by Buck91 View Post
    Is it necessary to use the arctic alumina adhesive to insulate the led? I have some arctic alumina cermique which is also electrically inslative, but lacks the adhesive functions. Would this work, or will it bleed out or provide lesser insulation?
    The problem with both is that you can get metal to metal contact if you put the LED on when they are wet. I had to put a very thin layer of the epoxy down and let it cure so I could make sure I would not get metal to metal contact. Obviously the Ceramique doesn't get hard, so that wouldn't work in my case.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Upgrade a MagLED to SSC P4 – a Tutorial with pictures

    Yes, that does make sense. Picked some up after class anyhow, so once I get around to picking up some 14ga this should make a nice project for a stormy March (or april!) night.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Upgrade a MagLED to SSC P4 – a Tutorial with pictures

    there is one SSC P4 Mag 2D module for sale here -
    http://www.cpfmarketplace.com/mp/sho...d.php?t=176186

  17. #17
    Flashaholic* copperfox's Avatar
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    Default Re: Upgrade a MagLED to SSC P4 – a Tutorial with pictures

    I think 16 gauge solid will work too. When I flatten my 14g with a hammer, it widens quite a bit, and I end up filing it with sandpaper anyway. Save yourself a couple cents and a little bit of work with the 16g.


  18. #18
    Flashaholic*
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    Default Re: Upgrade a MagLED to SSC P4 – a Tutorial with pictures

    Quote Originally Posted by minitech17 View Post
    there is one SSC P4 Mag 2D module for sale here -
    http://www.cpfmarketplace.com/mp/sho...d.php?t=176186
    That is not what this thread is about. We're talking about swapping the emitter on these.

  19. #19
    Flashaholic* Cydonia's Avatar
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    Smile Upgrade MagLED with SSC P4

    Nice to see others have done this mod too!
    I have these 2 upgraded MagLED's in 4C Mag's with UCL lens. The 4th cell is a dummy when using alkalines. But I can put in 4 NiCd or NiMh C's to slightly overdrive the 3 cell MagLED's. I have Download C Towers as heatsinks. The MagLED's never dim and run at full power always. They are still, to this day, my brightest LED lights I'll upgrade the MagLED's again one day to whatever is the best and brightest.

  20. #20
    Unenlightened
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    Default Re: Upgrade a MagLED to SSC P4 – a Tutorial with pictures

    I just did this mod on two MagLEDs, one 2D and one 4C. Originally, the 2D was quite a bit dimmer than the 4C, and noticeably more yellowish. I did the 2D first, and afterwards the modded 2D was much brighter than the original 4C. After the mod, the modded 4C is again brighter than the modded 2D, but not by much. The difference in light output between the two were much more pronounced before the mod than it is after. I'm starting to wonder if the original 2D Luxeon was faulty. And I'm definitely starting to regret not taking any beamshots.

    I'm quite happy with the improved brightness, but I feel that the emitter is now placed 1.3mm - 1.7mm too deep. When I focus to increase throw, there's a "sweet spot", but if I continue to twist, the beam sort of "overfocuses" and starts to spread again. And I feel there could be more (un)focus at the wide end. To rectify this, I will try to seat the LED module less deep. When the module is placed loosely in the socket, there's a 2.2mm - 2.3mm gap that is closed by the fastening ring, so some sort of shim or washer might do the trick.

    Other notes:
    • - Some kind of magnifying glasses are quite useful for this job. I used some cheap plastic thingamajig that I put on the head like some sort of demented sunshade, with cheap plastic lenses. Very useful, though.
    • - If you want to clean away absolutely all traces of the old thermal paste crud, then use ArctiClean. Much more efficient than alcohol. Check out http://arcticsilver.com/arcticlean.htm
    • - The polarity of the MagLED metal case is marked on the plastic insert at the bottom. There's a flat section towards the positive side of the LED, and there's also a "+" mark embedded in the plastic. Well, at least on both of mine.
    • - When I flattened 14g wire it ended up about twice as wide as needed, so 16g would probably have been enough.
    • - I used a 12W soldering iron. It was big enough for this job.
    • - The tabs on the old LED were 7.3mm long.
    • - I cut out an 8mm circle from a small transistor mica insulator sheet to completely isolate the SSC P4 slug. The emitter on the new LED is 0.2mm - 0.3mm lower than the old one, and the mica sheet is less than 0.1 mm thick.
    • - Finally, I used Lens Cleaner and Lens Tissue to clean the inevitable dust and fingerprints off of the LED dome.

  21. #21
    Flashaholic*
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    Default Re: Upgrade a MagLED to SSC P4 – a Tutorial with pictures

    Just as a FYI. The + side of the module is marked in the plastic on the bottom, so you don't have to mess with the sharpie and finding the + side with a meter while it's turned on and marking the LED and housing.

  22. #22
    Flashaholic* Cydonia's Avatar
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    Default Re: Upgrade a MagLED to SSC P4 – a Tutorial with pictures

    Quote Originally Posted by Stereodude View Post
    Just as a FYI. The + side of the module is marked in the plastic on the bottom, so you don't have to mess with the sharpie and finding the + side with a meter while it's turned on and marking the LED and housing.

    Yep, you guys are right... there is a little "+" in the plastic edge. Never even noticed it till now (to be fair, I would still have tested to make sure polarity was correct... I was paranoid about killing one of those MagLED modules... they cost darn near $30 with taxes up here in Canada )

  23. #23

    Default Re: Upgrade a MagLED to SSC P4 – a Tutorial with pictures

    Where is the best place to acquire:

    Arctic Alumina Expoxy (For electrical isolation of the SSC P4’s + base)

    14 gauge copper wire (a few inches/cm)
    Vettes and Mags swaggartphotography.com
    In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

  24. #24

    Default Re: Upgrade a MagLED to SSC P4 – a Tutorial with pictures

    I pirated some solid wire from an old stash, dont know where to pick up new. But the arctic alumina can be found from any computer builders store or online (I think fenix store has it now).

  25. #25
    Flashaholic* copperfox's Avatar
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    Default Re: Upgrade a MagLED to SSC P4 – a Tutorial with pictures

    I bought my AA adhesive here: link

    I bought my copper wire at Home Depot; it is sold by the foot.


  26. #26
    Flashaholic*
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    Default Re: Upgrade a MagLED to SSC P4 – a Tutorial with pictures

    Bump for getting the pictures rehosted in the first post.

  27. #27

    Default Re: Upgrade a MagLED to SSC P4 – a Tutorial with pictures

    I got the pictures archived on my laptop. PM me with your email and I'll send them out.

  28. #28
    Flashaholic*
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    Default Re: Upgrade a MagLED to SSC P4 – a Tutorial with pictures

    Here are the pictures missing from the first post:






























  29. #29

    Default Re: Upgrade a MagLED to SSC P4 – a Tutorial with pictures

    Anyone do one of these with the high cri SSC with the 4000k color temp?

  30. #30
    Flashaholic* jasonck08's Avatar
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    Default Re: Upgrade a MagLED to SSC P4 – a Tutorial with pictures

    I just got my SSC P4's in the mail today. I'm quite new to modding... How can you tell the polarity of the bare SSC P4. I can see the + on the magLED itself....

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