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Thread: Increasing output of Zebralight H50 Headlamp?

  1. #1

    Default Increasing output of Zebralight H50 Headlamp?

    I have really enjoyed my H50-Q5 headlamp since I originally got it in the first 50 lamp order. I use it a lot around our little farm and even forget that its on my head, its so light and the wide spread of light is so even that it just seems like natural lighting.

    There have been a number of times though where I would like a little more light output and I was wondering about modding the electronics on the light to achieve that. Has anyone taken their H50 apart and studied the electronics? Seems like the head could be separated from the body with careful use of a small strap wrench.

    I like the long runtimes but I am willing to sacrifice up to half the runtime to get a higher output for a short period of time. The majority of my use seems to be less than 5 or so minutes (just going between outbuildings, etc) so I am not worried about overheating, etc.

    Any thoughts on how to approach this? Seems like the current must be set with a SMT resistor feeding the regulator chip on the board somewhere and that changing that resistor would do the trick. But its also possible that the circuit just can't handle any more current I guess.

    Also does anyone know for sure if its actually impossible to increase the current to the LED with the given electronics? In that case I think I'll avoid opening the thing up in the first place.

    Well I'm just rambling here, but if anyone else has tried/thought of this I'd be interested to hear before I tear into mine to see what mod potential it has.

    Jay

  2. #2
    Flashaholic* matrixshaman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Increasing output of Zebralight H50 Headlamp?

    It looks like a very small enclosure for everything - very tight in there and since it's a twisty I'm guessing they have the head sealed fairly tight. I won't say it's impossible but I don't think I'd try it. I'd be more tempted to contact Zebralight to see if they might do a custom one for you or one of our modders here - unless you have done a lot of these. Since you know about SMT's and such I assume you are fairly familiar with electronics. I think my biggest concern would be how thin the body is on this light - that it might be damaged easily in trying to get the head off. Maybe Zebralight can give you some info on that aspect too as they seem fairly responsive to emails. Good luck and let us know the outcome.
    There is no important work, there are only a series of moments to demonstrate your mastery and impeccability. Almine

  3. #3

    Default Re: Increasing output of Zebralight H50 Headlamp?

    May I suggest buying another one, and then putting two units on the same headband?

  4. #4

    Default Re: Increasing output of Zebralight H50 Headlamp?

    It does seem like a tight space, but I figured that the circuit assembly might come out a bit or rotate so that it could be accessed. Its also possible that it just can't be removed so I guess that'd be it unless I wanted to try to replace it with another driver. I don't think I'm quite up to that though, probably better just to buy the new CR123 light that has a higher drive current on high.

    I hear you about the thin walled tubing, its so thin that I almost think I'd have to mill something to fit inside to act as support, I don't think a battery would provide the support needed to get the head off. Anyone removed the head and know how difficult it is?

    Two headlamps on the band would solve the brightness problem but it wouldn't be near as fun as trying to mod the one. It almost seems impossible to look less cool than when wearing a headlamp to begin with but a headlamp with two lights next to each other would probably look even less cool!

    I'm in machining school at our local community college so if I bent the tube I could probably make a replacement. It wouldn't be coated like the original but bare aluminum would be ok too.

    Maybe I'll give taking it apart it a whirl in class sometime this week.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Increasing output of Zebralight H50 Headlamp?

    I was able to carefully remove the head with a couple of wrenches and some padding to protect the aluminum. Not much force was needed to get the pieces apart. It appears they were sealed with some kind of Locktite thread sealer.

    I was unable to get the circuit board out though. I'm not sure if its just wedged in there tightly or if its actually potted and the whole head is filled with some sort of epoxy or other potting compound. It seemed like I'd have to destroy the circuit board to get it out. If I knew it wasn't potted then I'd be tempted to just get it out and replace it with something else since I'd have access to the leads off the LED. But if its potted then the leads will also be buried and hard to access.

    I was worried at first since I wasn't able to get it to work after screwing it back together but it turned out that some of the thread sealer had gotten between the outer rim of the battery tube and the metal ground contact on the circuit board preventing them from making contact. It doesn't take much to interrupt the ground connection.

    Fortunately it works fine now, although I'd guess that without the thread sealer it isn't waterproof anymore. I may end up digging out the circuit board at some point anyway just to see whats behind it, even if it sacrifices the board itself.

    smokin_arkie

  6. #6
    Flashaholic* matrixshaman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Increasing output of Zebralight H50 Headlamp?

    How about just making a head that will fit on the ZL battery tube and putting in your own setup since you've got access to a lathe - a head could probably be done without too much difficulty.
    There is no important work, there are only a series of moments to demonstrate your mastery and impeccability. Almine

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