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Thread: Costco Techlite Lumen Master

  1. #1

    Default Costco Techlite Lumen Master

    I just got a 3 pack of the Costco Techlite Lumen Master for $17 and I want to switch out the led of one of them and replace it with a Cree R4, but I can't get its head off. I also want to switch the driver board and mod it to run off of 18650 batteries. How would I do this, I can't get the stupid head off.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Costco Techlite Lumen Master

    I actually have one of those too. But I couldn't tell you how to get the head off because I can't get it off either!

  3. #3

    Default Re: Costco Techlite Lumen Master

    I don't think you can force it off. I wonder how it was assembled. Maybe through the head, before the polycarbonate was put on.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Costco Techlite Lumen Master

    Quote Originally Posted by Hmmm View Post
    I don't think you can force it off. I wonder how it was assembled. Maybe through the head, before the polycarbonate was put on.
    Well if you find a way to get the head off be sure to post it here because I would like to know how.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Costco Techlite Lumen Master

    I thought to make it fit a 18650 battery maybe I could use a 1" pipe nipple from Home Depot, could anyone measure the threads per inch? Is it a standard amount?

  6. #6
    Flashaholic* AnAppleSnail's Avatar
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    Default Re: Costco Techlite Lumen Master

    Quote Originally Posted by Hmmm View Post
    I thought to make it fit a 18650 battery maybe I could use a 1" pipe nipple from Home Depot, could anyone measure the threads per inch? Is it a standard amount?
    This thread is relevant. most particularly, my measurements of some AAA carriers.

    Carrier 1
    Diameter 22.2mm
    Length 55.9mm

    Carrier 2
    Diameter 22.0mm
    Length 52.8mm

    The 22600 is a slightly better fit because it's nominally 5 mm shorter than an 18650, with more volume to boot. You probably can't squeeze 10 mm out of the spring without some serious rebuilding of the light - but your mileage will vary.
    My biggest light-hog is my camera.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Costco Techlite Lumen Master

    How much more length is needed for the 18650? The rear cap can be unscrewed several MM and still be waterproof and have plenty of thread but more interestingly:

    If you remove the battery holder and look down the barrel, you will see that the LED heat sink has two notches that allow unscrewing. You can turn it in up until it hits the limit imposed by the moving head (and vice- versus). So, if you unscrew the heatsink a bit, then the flashlight head a bit, and continue back and forth unscrewing each a bit at a time, you can eventually remove the whole head.

    In the process, you can add several more MM to the space in the barrel before the head comes off.

    So, at this point, I have the head off but can't get the heat sink/ led assembly out. It appears that the head is two pieces that are either screwed together and locktited or press-fit.

    Also, for those whose LEDs aren't centered, I suspect that fiddling around with exactly how the heat sink is oriented show some improvement.

    Ideally, I'd like to take the reflector out and replace with a lens. I was hoping for adjustment that went more "floody" in this light.
    Last edited by aka; 07-09-2010 at 06:04 PM.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Costco Techlite Lumen Master

    What would you use to unscrew that ring inside? Two flathead screw drivers?

  9. #9
    Flashaholic
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    Default Re: Costco Techlite Lumen Master

    If you just want to redo the LED, I can tell you how.

    I just replaced the Cree XP-C with an XP-G. Since the XP-C has a max drive current of 500mA, I wasn't expecting the light to dramatically increase in brightness. It didn't. I don't think it's worth putting an $8 LED (XPG R5) into this $6 light, so the other ones will remain stock.

    The older 2 pack versions of this light sold last year seemed to be brighter. I thought they were Cree XP-E, but I just read a thread and saw a photo of the original 2-pack packaging and they were Cree XP-C. The older lights were advertised at 160 lumens on the box. These XP-C are advertised at 100 lumens on the box. Costco's advertising on the rack stated they were 160 lumen lights which is inaccurate; that's the older versions.

    To remove the head, just unscrew until it stops, then use an adjustable wrench on the flat and a strap wrench on the head. It unscrews pretty easily with about 20 foot-pounds of torque; more than you can do with your hands but not too much more; there's no thread locker or whatnot. You could use a pipe wrench but it will mar the type II anodizing. Removing the head gives you access to the LED MCPCB board and the top of the "heat sink." There's no access to the driver this way.

    The LED on the Metal Coated Printed Circuit Board (MCPCB) is held on by a plastic centering ring that just snaps off. There's no epoxy or even thermal compound holding the led MCPCB on.

    I unsoldered the leads to free the MCPCB, then desoldered the actual XP-C LED from the board. It's actually very easy; it's the first time I did it. I just put a hot soldering iron underneath the MCPCB until the tiny LED came off. I have a Hakko adjustable iron and put it on high. Took maybe 15-20 seconds of heating.

    I put an XP-G in its place. I put a dab of soldering paste on the MCPCB- just a pinhead amount, really. Don't worry about getting it on the solder pads; as long as it's underneath the LED it will find its way. I reheated the MCPCB until the LED dropped flush as the solder flowed.

    Put a bit of thermal compound on the periphery of the MCPCB and replace the plastic holder. Screw head back down- there will be an initial resistance that will require the strap wrench again. I screwed the "focus" all the way down. To paraphrase a previous poster, all you're doing with the "adjustable focus" on these lights is moving the beam artifacts around; there's really no focus at all. The XPG mod results in a much bigger hotspot and a bit more spill. It's still a pretty throwy light with minimal spill (and a ton of beam artifacts).

    I suspect the PWM throttling is in the tailcap since shorting out the battery negative to the body results in a bright light but no switching even interrupting the current quickly. I got a tailcap draw of 900 mA direct drive with the XP-G upgrade. I didn't check the shorted tailcap draw on the XP-C before modding it. I don't really have a way to check the amp draw with the tailcap in the circuit.

    Simon
    Last edited by Simon520; 07-10-2010 at 10:51 PM.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Costco Techlite Lumen Master

    Quote Originally Posted by Hmmm View Post
    What would you use to unscrew that ring inside? Two flathead screw drivers?
    It is pretty loose if the focus adjustment is not tensioned up against it; I just used one flathead. If it was more stuck, I'd use a set of needle-nosed pliers (alternatively, there are of course purpose-made wrenches for this purpose).

  11. #11

    Default Re: Costco Techlite Lumen Master

    Quote Originally Posted by Simon520 View Post
    If you just want to redo the LED, I can tell you how.



    I put an XP-G in its place. I put a dab of soldering paste on the MCPCB- just a pinhead amount, really. Don't worry about getting it on the solder pads; as long as it's underneath the LED it will find its way. I reheated the MCPCB until the LED dropped flush as the solder flowed.

    I suspect the PWM throttling is in the tailcap since shorting out the battery negative to the body results in a bright light but no switching even interrupting the current quickly. I got a tailcap draw of 900 mA direct drive with the XP-G upgrade. I didn't check the shorted tailcap draw on the XP-C before modding it. I don't really have a way to check the amp draw with the tailcap in the circuit.

    Simon
    I managed to get it apart the way you described. I just needed to add something to improve the friction under the crappy strap wrenches I had been using that led me to believe it was thread-locked.

    The current when the tailcap is bypassed is significantly higher then when in place; the tailcap is obviously where the regulation is and you can see a pretty standard 8-pin PWM microcontroller in it (sadly, there are no markings on the microcontroller though). All I've figured out is that pin 1 lights the LED and seems to be leaking .11mA current when the led is not lit (3.5mA when it's lit) and that pin 7 is the mode switch.

    Also, there is a resistor in the head that you might want to try removing to get a little more current to your xp-g.

    Unfortunately, it looks like the reflector is glued in. I had hopes of putting a lens in. One more thing- on the light I was playing with, I think that when I put it back together, the LED was a bit closer to the reflector or something. This light now has a much cleaner pattern then the other two.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Costco Techlite Lumen Master

    I thought I'd check these out after reading this thread, and picked up some at Costco.

    I was able to remove the head as Simon520 suggested.

    Also, I was able to loosen the headsink too. How I did this was using an adjustable strap wrench, and with the head still removed, I turned the lower adjustable zoom part of the head, as if to tighten, But Without the rest of the head back on, this seemed to loosen the heatsink. Not sure I clear on saying what I did, so stated another way, I just did the opposite of what I did to loosen the head, BUT without putting the head back on. The heaksink should be loosened. I wanted to play around and upgrade, having just learned to upgrade 4 old flashlights with SSC P4 U-bin, so was trying to find out loosen the heatsink, since I had a bunch of extra circuit boards from DX.

    So hope this helps someone.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Costco Techlite Lumen Master

    Hi!
    I managed to get rid of the smart switch and put the 18650 battery in to the flashlight.
    This combination works for me very well.
    I'm using the light every day for two months.
    Works perfect. Mine is 160 lumens.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/31664907@N06/4825248902/

  14. #14

    Default Re: Costco Techlite Lumen Master

    Quote Originally Posted by sflash View Post
    Hi!
    I managed to get rid of the smart switch and put the 18650 battery in to the flashlight.
    This combination works for me very well.
    I'm using the light every day for two months.
    Works perfect. Mine is 160 lumens.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/31664907@N06/4825248902/
    Do you have more information on the flashlight you used to mod this?

    I am very interested in doing the exact same thing, and info on where to buy a light that makes it easy would be a great help.

    Thanks!

  15. #15

    Default Re: Costco Techlite Lumen Master

    For this particular one I used some Christmas set from Lowe's, but they don't carry this item any more. I just remove the switch from one I bought at Harbor Freight Tools – 2 for 2.99. You have to remove the battery, then screw the back with the switch and push the switch very hard. You can use some tool like a back of the pencil to push the switch in.
    I think every cheap 9 LED flashlight has the same design and will work fine.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Costco Techlite Lumen Master

    I got the 2 for 2.99 harbor freight lights and was able to use the switch. I did not gain any space. I think enough can be gained though by unscrewing the headsink/led assembly some.

    The positive contact has a shoulder around it created by the heat sink. I am going to have to take it apart and turn some off the shoulder on a lathe to get the 18650's to fit. The 22600 will not fit for this same reason. I think some 18650's might fit as is but my ultrafires will not.

    Here is how I got mine apart:

    1. Grip the handle end in a vise.
    2. Unscrew the head off using a strap wrench, the LED is now exposed.
    3. Use strap wrench to tighten the portion of the head remaining back in a little to loosen it up. (the part holding the LED)
    4. Remove from vise.
    5. Use 3/4" piece of metal as a screw driver to unscrew the heasink from the inside, while also unscrewing the portion of the head that still contains the LED.
    6. Everything will now be apart.

    The LED will remain in the head housing if you loosen the heatsink first. If you do not have a strap wrench you can always cover stuff in duct tape.




    Quote Originally Posted by sflash View Post
    For this particular one I used some Christmas set from Lowe's, but they don't carry this item any more. I just remove the switch from one I bought at Harbor Freight Tools – 2 for 2.99. You have to remove the battery, then screw the back with the switch and push the switch very hard. You can use some tool like a back of the pencil to push the switch in.
    I think every cheap 9 LED flashlight has the same design and will work fine.

  17. #17
    Unenlightened
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    Default Re: Costco Techlite Lumen Master

    Quote Originally Posted by AnAppleSnail View Post
    This thread is relevant. most particularly, my measurements of some AAA carriers.

    Carrier 1
    Diameter 22.2mm
    Length 55.9mm

    Carrier 2
    Diameter 22.0mm
    Length 52.8mm

    The 22600 is a slightly better fit because it's nominally 5 mm shorter than an 18650, with more volume to boot. You probably can't squeeze 10 mm out of the spring without some serious rebuilding of the light - but your mileage will vary.

    Could use an 18550 too... those are pretty common. If I understand the naming conventions correctly, the last three digits are the length of the battery (first set is width). So 18650 is 65.0mm, 22600 is 60.0mm, 18550 is 55.0mm, etc. So 18550 seems like a good drop-in replacement for those carriers. But a 22550 would be even better, if such a battery exists.

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