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Thread: Insight x2 led conversion- anybody interested?

  1. #1
    Flashaholic* mr.squatch's Avatar
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    Default Insight x2 led conversion- anybody interested?

    I'd be willing to send off an x2 and pay the costs if somebody would be interested in converting it to an led. It's currently putting out 40 lumens via a small incan bulb with two tabs on a rotating switch off one cr2 3v battery. I think it could be done, I'm just not good enough to build something like this. If you could get more light out of it and increase battery life, you could make a killing on these things considering the number of them out there on sub-compact pistols. Lemme know if anyone is interested. Thanks


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  2. #2
    Flashaholic* mr.squatch's Avatar
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    Default Re: Insight x2 led conversion- anybody interested?

    Woot for me. My first modded light I used a terrlux 2aa tlex5 (or somethiing like that) out of one of my single cr2 lights. Wired it in and swapped out reflectors. It's easily twice as bright now and throws 3 houses down the street outside The old incan 40lumen light sucked bad. Now it's claimed to be 100lumens, a seriously useful light I couldn't be happier.


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    Flashaholic* shao.fu.tzer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Insight x2 led conversion- anybody interested?

    I'm extremely interested. Please elaborate on the exact components (reflector) etc.. used. Was it fairly easy? Just a solder and glue job? Let me know, I'd apprecaite it! PM or E-mail me. If anyone with excellent modding skills can affordably convert my incandescent Insight X2 into a little burner (run time has to only be an hour - maybe less, but I want it bright 1 x CR2) - My one and only mod turned out into a purply ringed turd. Thanks in advance.

    Shao

  4. #4
    Flashaholic* mr.squatch's Avatar
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    Default Re: Insight x2 led conversion- anybody interested?

    pm returned

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  5. #5

    Default Re: Insight x2 led conversion- anybody interested?

    I just ran across this post, after doing some research on trying to find out how to make a mod to my X2L so that the laser and light were independent of each other, seems there is a way to do so out there that someone has already done but I just can't find it, but I would also be interested in this mod to make the little X2L brighter if you could share in depth what you had to do. Thanks.

  6. #6
    Flashaholic* mr.squatch's Avatar
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    Default Re: Insight x2 led conversion- anybody interested?

    Sorry, been away a while. I've gotten several pm's asking, so I figured I'd come back thru and write a little report on the process. The tlex5 dropin is an led on a circuit board, with two pins coming out the back. It's designed to drop into a 2pin socket from a mini-maglite, I'm sure everyone's seen one of those. It runs on 3v in a minimag, so it's perfect for a single lithium 123 or even a cr2. The new led comes with a reflector and lens for a maglite also in a kit form. Great product, highly recommended for any minimag application. I have it in several variations. I buy from lighthound, they generally always have em in stock for $25.

    If you unscrew the lens/reflector assembly off an x2 you notice it has steep threads, which also focus the beam from the original bulb. The led is about 1/4 the height of the bulb, so this kind of range isn't possible, but we can set it at a fixed spot, wherever you feel the focus is just right. Once you have it unscrewed you see the bulb, it sits on a funny base with two contact points, that rest on two pads which are + an -. When you twist the switch on the x2 it contacts the two pads with power and voila, you have light. So our goal is to get those two pads, connected to the two pins on the tlex5. Pretty easy if you are handy with a soldering iron. Short 3/4" pieces of wire get you there, with enough room to work.

    First step is fitment of the board. We want the circuit board to fit down in the hole where the bulb went. It's a little too big. I layed a file on the bench and took the board and drug the edge across the file while twisting it, so it sands down fairly evenly all the way around. A lot of grind/test/grind to get it just right. but it will go small enough without affecting the circuitry. Once you have a snug fit, it should slide in and out with a little effort, so we can determine where it best fits for the perfect beam. Now comes the wiring stage. get it wired and leave the board hanging out of the x2 for now. Side note, the terralux only works one way, out of two pins you only have two choices, so if its wrong it won't work, just swap sides and you have it.

    Next came the reflector. the hole for the led is bigger than the one for the bulb so I'm sure you could just enlarge the hole and use the stock reflector and lens. I got some plastic dust down in there trying to do this and couldnt figure out how to get them back out, so I decided to use the lens and reflector from the tlex5 kit. The knurled bezel is glued to the reflector housing, so I had to boil it in water for 5 mins or so to get it apart. The lens drops right out but the reflector had to be dremeled out. Very easy. The new reflector went in, new lens, screw bezel back in and voila, we have a perfect fit new reflector assembly.

    Next comes depth. I found that when the led is bottomed out against the reflector it makes the perfect beam, so no need from now on, to adjust the bezel. So to get it just right, I put the board in the hole just slightly, then screw on the bezel, which pushes the board down in the housing as it tightens up. Once it's bottomed out, you have the perfect placement for the board. I pulled the bezel off, and dropped in two small beads of epoxy to attach the board to the housing, looking back I should have used some high heat silicone or something so I could get it out later. This secures the board in place at the right height, so when you put the bezel back on it's just right. you can still adjust the bezel out a bit which gives you more flood, but it still gives you the best beam in the center for throw at bottomed out.

    That's it, should work momentarily one way and full on the other, just like the original configuration. Side by side comparison I'd say the led looks 10x brighter, but mostly because it's white light as opposed to the brown/yellow incan beam you had before. I do believe it puts out at least twice as much light, since before I couldn't hardly light up a white room, now it'll show on the side of a house 5 houses down in the dark. Plus it'll blind you, which is a good thing for a tactical light (as long as you're behind it), which it wouldnt before. I wish I had pictures, but I sold it to a police officer at a gunshow for more than double what I had in it. He was amazed comparing mine to his side by side. x2 was rated at 40 lumens, depending on who you ask the terralux dropin will do anywhere from 100-150.

    I'm not sure about durability, he has it on his duty gun now more than 6 months, and I haven't heard back so I'm guessing it's doing alright. I know the terralux led's last forever, I have one from way back in a single cr123 light that has been thru probably 300 cycles and it's good as new. I'd be willing to bet when properly bedded in with silicone and with a good solder job, it'd be more durable than the incan bulb that came in it.

    Fun mod, almost anyone can do in a few hours. Makes an expensive pos light into a useful tool. Good luck if you wanna try it. post up with pics if you do.

    g
    Sig got too long... I may have a problem.

    g

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Insight x2 led conversion- anybody interested?

    I ran across this post about two weeks ago and have ordered my ministar2 extreme. I got it filed down to fit it in the X2 but I cannot solder to save my life. I'm willing to send it to someone (with pay of course)to get it wired in for me and set up. Send me a pm with any info you have...Thanks!!!

  8. #8

    Default Re: Insight x2 led conversion- anybody interested?

    Any chance of you doing a detailed tutorial with pictures on this? I have the Insight X2 on my Springfield XD40SC and I would love to convert it to a much brighter LED light.

    Thanks!

  9. #9

    Default Re: Insight x2 led conversion- anybody interested?

    I just received by TerraLUX MiniStar2 EXTREME (TLE-5EX) LED in the mail. I'm looking forward to starting this mod. Do you have any pics available to get me started?

    Thanks!

  10. #10

    Default Re: Insight x2 led conversion- anybody interested?

    I will try it on my next lighthound order.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Insight x2 led conversion- anybody interested?

    Quote Originally Posted by dradee1 View Post
    I will try it on my next lighthound order.
    Take pics if you do it please! I need some help here

  12. #12

    Default Re: Insight x2 led conversion- anybody interested?

    Well guys, I was VERY impressed with this mod so I decided to try it myself.

    LED is filed down and fitted, tested the bulb and found it amazingly bright. The body and LED are at a friend's getting soldered right now. I am having a hard time getting the old reflector out however. I boiled it for quite a while but it holds solid. I don't want to break out the dremel just yet so I was wondering if anyone has an idea?


    ~Brian


    (I'll try to get a few pics posted for you guys)

  13. #13

    Default Re: Insight x2 led conversion- anybody interested?

    LED sanded down



    LED test fitting




    Beam test with reflector handheld (this is not a complete build)

    Top = Rayovac Sportsman Extreme (rated at 80 lumens)

    Bottom = Teralux LED/reflector running at 3 volts.



  14. #14
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    Default Re: Insight x2 led conversion- anybody interested?

    i just figured i would post a pic of how i wired mine up

  15. #15

    Default Re: Insight x2 led conversion- anybody interested?

    I love that wiring job! A buddy is doing the soldering for me and I think I'll send him that pic. That way it makes for a nice and easy drop-in replacement that I can swap in/out.


    I am having a LOT of problems with the reflector. I used heat like the OP said but nothing is coming loose. So then I considered enlarging the stock reflector but the metallic coating is ruined. And the new reflector is WAY too large to fit so it would need cut down.


    My only plan right now is to drill / dremel the old reflector out. Either that or get a new bezel made for the front but at that point it would cost more than a nicer light.


    ~B

  16. #16

    Default Re: Insight x2 led conversion- anybody interested?

    so how did this turn out? Did you ever find the mod for the seperate light or laser on?

  17. #17

    Default Re: Insight x2 led conversion- anybody interested?

    Quote Originally Posted by brosko View Post
    i just figured i would post a pic of how i wired mine up
    so did you cut down the light holder from the original assembly? did you have to do any soldering to make this?

  18. #18
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    Buttrock Re: Insight x2 led conversion- anybody interested?

    Awesome thread......I just finished this mod on my X2 Laser using the posted info!

    I would like to share a few things I discovered allong the way.

    My biggest discovery was that soldering ISN'T NEEDED!!! The incandescent bulb that comes with the light is a two prong bulb. Just pull the bulb out of the plastic mount with pliers and cut 3/16 of an inch off of the plasiic tube. Bend the prongs on the LED assembly to match the old bulb and insert. The LED is now mounted and wired to the base just like the original was.

    Other things I did...I ground down the original reflector without having to disassemble the bezel. A small grinding/sharpening stone on a dremel was used, be carfull not to booger the bezel threads. I ground flat from the back side untill the LED (including the silver ring around the base of the bulb) would fit through the center hole. Canned air was used to clear the dust from inside the reflector. the amount of grinding you do affects the beam focus. More grinding gives tighter focus in the middle. I tested the reflector by plugging the led into a maglight and just holding the reflector bezel up to it. I ground untill the patern was bright in the middle and quit while I was ahead. My beam pattern does have a hint of a dark spot in the middle, but that is right where the laser point is, so it's not a big deal to me. Maybe the beam patern is cleaner with the LED's included reflector?

    Concerning the reduction in size of the led so it fits in the bulb chamber....I used my dremel with a larger grinding stone. I cocentrated on the bottom edge of the led assembly...I ground a 45 degree bevel around the base untill I had seperated the bottom of the plate from it's side. The remaining side ring just slid right off, leaving the circut board and aluminum base plate. I then carefully ground a tiny bit from the edge if the circut board untill the LED fit freely,but with little play, into the bulb chamber.

    Now for the really exciting news....I discovered an easy way to 'switch' the light off and just use the laser. Everything just sort of fell into place for this one. This may only work because of how I happened to fit everything together. Others will have to try this and see if it works on theirs too... (this will NOT work with the original bulb because of the spring)
    All I needed to do was bend out one of the tabs under the plastic mount. The bent tab acts as a spring, when the bezel is unscrewed, that contact pushes the bulb assembly (and the unbent contact) out, away from the contacts at the rear of the bulb chamber. This of course causes the bulb to turn off! So with just a slight twist of the bezel I can turn the bulb off while the laser stays on!!
    On my light it worked out that I can scerw the bezel all the way to the body for a nice secure fit, The on/off switching point is about 3/4 turn out from there. I will have the bezel screwed all the way on for 'combat readyness' just to be sure the contacts are tight. Twisting the bezel does NOT change the beam focus, because the fit of the led to the reflector is fixed.

    Thanks to all who have contributed to this thread....and best of luck to all who find it and make an attempt in the future.

    I would concider performing this mod for someone...P.M. me if you like. Keep in mind this is a time consuming process and I will have to charge you something.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Insight x2 led conversion- anybody interested?

    thanks for the additional tips....i am looking forward to modding my X2.

    you mention that twisting the bezel did not change the beam focus b/c the fit of the led to the reflector was fixed.....how is this accomplished? isn't the reflector incorporated into the bezel assembly? maybe i am missing a step here....

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Insight x2 led conversion- anybody interested?

    Pre-mod, the beam focus is possible because of the spring that forces the inc. bulb to the rear of the X2. Rotating the bezel then changes the position of the reflector relative to the bulb, causing a focus change.

    When this mod is done, the LED board is positioned directly against the ground down rear surface of the reflector. You now just screw the bezel down untill the LED assembly is tight, depending on how you ground things, how far you can tighten will vary, be mind full not to crush anything the first time you put it all together. The LED's position is now fixed against the reflector and focus no longer changes when the bezel is twisted.

    Focus of the light can be adjusted during the grinding process. When you are grinding the back of the reflector you are creating a flat surface to support the LED's circutboard. The object is to keep grinding untill the center hole grows big enough for the LED and the tiny ring of metal around the bulb to fit through. The final depth of the grinding determines the LED position inside the reflector and therefore the final focus.

    Just so there is no misunderstanding, let me say it another way.
    When modifying the original reflector you are NOT simply drilling a bigger hole for the LED to poke through. You are actually reducing the depth of the the reflector from the back side. As you grind material away, the bulb hole will gradually increase in size because you are working your way "into the funnel" of the reflector.

    There will come a point in the grinding process where the LED will be able to fit through the new hole. This is a critical time. This is when you adjust the focus the of the light. This is when a maglight comes in handy. Plug the LED unit into the maglight and press it into the X2 bezel...this will show you what the beam pattern looks like. Continue to grind material away and recheck untill the beam forms a nice hot center. Keep in mind that as you grind and work your way into the "funnel" of the reflector, the hole will continue to expand as material is removed. Don't let the fit get too sloppy.

    Clear as mud?
    Last edited by nathanschmoekel; 04-17-2009 at 06:38 PM.

  21. #21

    Default Re: Insight x2 led conversion- anybody interested?

    I'm in a tricky situation with my old reflector. I can't get it out and boiling it to remove the glue also stripped off the reflective coating. The glass lens broke as well.


    So unless I can get it separated and fit the new reflector I'm done for.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Insight x2 led conversion- anybody interested?

    That is a pickle!
    I only see two ways out for you.
    #1: buy a new bezel and use my grinding method instead of boiling it.
    #2: core out the bezel you have with your dremel and try to fit the supplied LED reflector into the bezel. You should be able to scrounge a new lens from a maglight.

    Third option??
    It might be worth a phone call to Insight to see if you could get an unasembled bezel from their tech department. Then you could just pop in the LED's reflector with the new stock lens and glue it up.

    here is Insight's phone# 877-744-4802.
    this is a link to the bezel...costs less then $30 shipped. http://www.insighttechgearstore.com/...x2l-bez22.html

  23. #23

    Default Re: Insight x2 led conversion- anybody interested?

    I used a pair of those rubber mats that help you remove lids from jars. I heated the bezel in water removed it and used the rubber mats for grip and a set of pliers(very carefully on the mat to unscrew the lens bezel). Worked like a champ

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Insight x2 led conversion- anybody interested?

    Is the lens retaining part of the bezel actually threaded? How hot was the water and how long did you soak it? Aparently there is a limit to how much heat the reflector coating can take.

    I might attempt to switch to the terra-lux reflector...the beam patern is cleaner than the modified stock reflector. Thing is I don't want to screw up my reflector coating trying. What I have now works way better than the original bulb, do you think it's worth the risk for me ,just to get a less segmented light pattern?

  25. #25

    Default Re: Insight x2 led conversion- anybody interested?

    "I boiled it for about 2 minutes. I also dremeled the original reflector out of the bezel and used the terra reflector. Sorry for the late responce been really busy

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Insight x2 led conversion- anybody interested?

    I just picked up a x2l and would like to pay someone to get this mod done as I'll just totally screw it up. Especially the mod where you can engage the light and laser separately.

  27. #27

    Default Re: Insight x2 led conversion- anybody interested?

    Tagged for future reference. What a GREAT idea!

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Insight x2 led conversion- anybody interested?

    I want to add a few notes on batteries and runtimes to this thread as it pertains to this mod.....

    I decided to get brave reciently and try a rechargable lithium battery in my light. As some of you may know this can be dangerous because the full charge voltage of these batteries is somewhat higher than the standard non-rechargable types. The risk is that you fry the electronics...not really a cheap option in the case of an X2L.

    Can it be done? yes...and no.
    The light will not explode with the rechargable battery. My light is surviving just fine.....HOWEVER The LED gets too hot too fast. My runtime before thermal shutdown is about 5 minutes. The big bummer is that now that I have been using the rechargable battery, going back to the non-rechargable results in almost no light what-so -ever??? Some sort of dammage has been done to the LED circut, but I don't know what....It still works great with the rechargable battery, so I am going to just stick to that untill I decide to replace the terralux LED. The laser is unaffected and continues to work the same either way.

    Technical Data: I am using a charger that has two voltage settings, I am using the lower setting which stops charging the battery at 3.8 volts. The high setting charges to 4.1 volts and that would definetly fry things. Just for reference, non-rechargable lithium battery voltage is ~3.25v fresh from the box, but drops to 3.0 the second you put a load on it. The Terralux LED will give tactical light down to about 2.4 volts, at 2.0 it becomes useless. The laser continues to function well below 2 volts.

    I also had a chance to do this mod for someone else, which gave me the oppurtunity to compare light output of a new LED with a standard battery VS mine with the rechargable battery. NO DIFFERENCE!!! I was shocked....I guess the regulator circut of the LED is good at it's job.

    Runtime with the Terralux LED and laser on the standard lithium battery is 45 minutes at max output plus an additional 30 minutes of usable bright light, then another 20 minutes where the output diminishes quickly. I tersted this by running my X2L in 1/2 hour spurts with 15 minute breaks to let it cool. I have never had a thermal shut down with a standard battery.

    Bottom Line: Hell of a trade off...Don't go rechargable unless you can deal with a light that only works for 5 minutes before it quits.

  29. #29

    Default Re: Insight x2 led conversion- anybody interested?

    I tried this conversion with my lights and ruined one of the terralux bulbs and two bulb bases (my original and the spare) trying to get it to work.

    I learned a lot from my trials and more recent posts though and I'm going to order a couple more bulbs and try it again. The bezel is ready to go - that was the easy part for me.

    I wasn't careful enough sanding the cover off the terralux bulb and wound up hitting the leads with the dremel - next time it will be a piece of cake and I should be able to do this conversion quite easily and quickly.

    I think the conversion is an excellent idea and I know enough that it will work awesomely. Seriously - I have no idea why insight hasn't made the X2L LED conversion by now.

    to the person who came up with this idea!!!!

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Insight x2 led conversion- anybody interested?

    Due to the fact that you already killed one, you probably figured this out already, but.....when grinding the ring/ edge of the terralux base the best method I've found is to grind at an angle away from the circutboard, just grind around the bottom of the base. When enough material is removed from that bottom edge the remaining ring will freely slide off from the top. This method removes the risk of cutting too deep and gouging the circut board, it's also faster because you don't have as much material to remove.

    You will still need to remove a fraction of a mm from the circut board to keep it from friction fitting itself into the X2. Wiith the ring gone this job is easier. Trace a line with a majic marker around the edge to reference how deep you are grinding. Use the lowest rpm setting on your tool to reduce over grinding, the plastic grinds away very quickly. Remove material untill the bulb assembly slides freely in and out of the light body, a little looser is better than tight...it will not move with the bezel screwed on.

    My reccomended tool for these tasks is a "large" red stone grinding drum...the ones for sharpening lawnmower blades. The green stone tools foul with aluminum too quickly, but are a little nicer to use on the circut board part. Avoid the paper sanding drums, they are just not up to this task.

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