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Thread: Fenix E01 Warm white mod

  1. #1
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    Default Fenix E01 Warm white mod

    After having a couple of E01s in the household for a while now, I agree with the general consensus that they are great little bombproof lights, with one drawback - the tint. I've bought several warm white LEDs (the same as Calipsoli uses in his A2 LED rings - the Nichia NSPL500DS) and am using a bit of spare time over my Christmas holidays to attempt the swap.

    First challenge was to get the LED and PCB out of the head without damage! After hearing how baking the head just damaged the board before the potting softened, I thought up another way. I removed the O ring, loosely screwed the head back on the body and placed a small diameter tube in contact with the LED. I then put the whole thing in a vice, and applied a small amount of pressure to the LED via the tube. Using a pencil blowtorch I applied localised heat to the outside of the head, in the hope that it would loosen the bond of the potting compound before the PCB was damaged by the heat. As soon as I felt the LED move I stopped the heat and applied more pressure with the vice.

    This was the result - my task for this evening is to cut/file away the potting compound so I can replace the LED...
    Last edited by mat_the_cat; 01-01-2013 at 01:54 PM. Reason: Photo link edited

  2. #2
    Administrator Kestrel's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fenix E01 Warm white mod

    Hey there,

    I don't know if you had seen this thread:
    Fenix E01 unpotted & driver efficiency data
    I thought that this post has some info & pics that might be helpful.
    Good luck,

    Edit: There is also this post later in that thread:
    Quote Originally Posted by chimo View Post
    I just did an LED swap for one of my E01s.

    I put in a DS LED with a lower Vf than the GS. The LED current for the particular DS I put in is 46mA at 3.2V. Input current is almost doubled so runtime will be commensurately shorter.

    The internal LED o-ring still seems to seal around the slightly more tapered DS LED.
    Last edited by Kestrel; 12-29-2011 at 01:43 PM.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Fenix E01 Warm white mod

    Thanks for that. I've now managed to get the potting compound away from the PCB but unfortunately in doing so have broken away what I think is the ceramic capacitor (according to the link) so will have to re-solder it back on. Interestingly the circuit still works!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Fenix E01 Warm white mod

    After half an hour on my hands and knees searching for a tiny surface mount component I successfully located it (a surprising distance from where I dropped it!) and managed to solder it back in position. Not the neatest soldering by any means, but it will do the job.




    I then removed the GS LED and soldered in the new replacement:



    Apologies for the fuzzy picture - it's getting late here and wine has/is being consumed! A quick test shows that it does work, and I should be able to post up beamshots tomorrow.
    Last edited by mat_the_cat; 01-01-2013 at 01:57 PM. Reason: Photo links edited

  5. #5
    Flashaholic* nein166's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fenix E01 Warm white mod

    Nice mod
    The tint is the reason I gifted my E01 away
    I've found that boiling a light in a plastic freezer bag for a minute works most of the time followed with pressure on the LED, the back of a sharpie has a dent that centers on a 5mm well, worked on AA maybe too big for AAA lights
    Can't wait to see a beamshot, you should fire up the stock LED next to it

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Fenix E01 Warm white mod

    I'm afraid this is the best I can do at the moment - I'll see if I can find a white wall once it gets dark again.

    Last edited by mat_the_cat; 01-01-2013 at 01:58 PM. Reason: Photo link edited

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Fenix E01 Warm white mod

    We don't actually have a white wall in the house, so I had to make do with the fridge!



    It has a bit less throw than the standard LED, but on the whole I'm pretty pleased with it. It's fine for what I use it for, and only appears so incredibly yellow when side by side with something cooler. I've yet to see how runtime is affected.
    Last edited by mat_the_cat; 01-01-2013 at 01:59 PM. Reason: Photo link edited

  8. #8
    Flashaholic* think2x's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fenix E01 Warm white mod

    I would love a warm E01 but I don't think I have that kind of patience. Looks good.

  9. #9
    Flashaholic* nein166's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fenix E01 Warm white mod

    well worth the effort for the warmth

  10. #10
    Flashaholic* LEDAdd1ct's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fenix E01 Warm white mod

    Awesome, awesome mod from another 5mm fan!

    Quote Originally Posted by nein166 View Post
    I've found that boiling a light in a plastic freezer bag for a minute works most of the time followed with pressure on the LED, the back of a sharpie has a dent that centers on a 5mm well, worked on AA maybe too big for AAA lights
    Just grabbed a Sharpie and tried on my remaining E01. The depression on the back of the Sharpie does mate well with the LED head, but there isn't enough clearance to really push the LED out from the top: the head narrows too much.
    Last edited by LEDAdd1ct; 01-01-2012 at 01:08 PM.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Fenix E01 Warm white mod

    Thanks for the kind words. I confess that when I was removing the potting from the PCB I simply dunked the whole thing directly into boiling water, which softened it slightly but enough to enable it to be picked away. I was losing patience with filing and picking whilst it was still hard!

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Fenix E01 Warm white mod

    Since the E01 is:

    a) Cheap

    and

    b) Readily available from lots of places

    All you need to do is:

    1) Put head in waterproof bag

    2) Drop bag in boiling water

    3) Remove with tongs

    4) Cut bag (don't burn yourself!)

    5) Hold head with pliers or put in vise with padding

    6) Push LED/circuit out

    7) Drop circuit back in boiling water

    8) Pick away epoxy

    9) Put in different LED

    ?
    Last edited by LEDAdd1ct; 01-01-2012 at 03:27 PM.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Fenix E01 Warm white mod

    All I'll add to the above is that seeing as the E01 uses a constant voltage circuit, the replacement LED needs to have a reasonably similar Vf in order for the mod to work. Not as easy if you want to put a red one in there with the existing circuit.

    I've now potted in the LED with some Dow Corning 744 RTV sealant. Before I did this I took some time to ensure the LED was in the optimum position for beam profile, which seems to make a surprising difference! Will update with a runtime test when I get chance...

  14. #14
    Flashaholic* LEDAdd1ct's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fenix E01 Warm white mod

    I tried boiling the head in water and all I wound up doing was getting some nice vapors going once the water hit 212.

    No dice on the epoxy loosening.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Fenix E01 Warm white mod

    Quote Originally Posted by LEDAdd1ct View Post
    I tried boiling the head in water and all I wound up doing was getting some nice vapors going once the water hit 212.

    No dice on the epoxy loosening.
    Tried the same in a toaster oven - 500 degrees for about 10 minutes before the PCB started to char and blister. No dice on loosening the epoxy inside even a tiny bit. The 5mm LED started to melt before any of the epoxy did. It would seem that only very hot, localized heat to the metal is the best way to loosen it.

    The stuff is a weird kind of dry, flaky plastic. It's nothing like the usual caulking or potting material you're used to.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Fenix E01 Warm white mod

    Boiling directly in water seemed to make it softER rather than soft, but even then it took a fair amount of picking at it before each little bit would pull away from the PCB (in the process pulling the capacitor partly with it, so it's a little tricky).

    Just a quick runtime update - I put in a fresh Duracell battery at 2 o clock this afternoon and turned it on. Output (as you'd expect) seemed pretty constant all evening, but after 9 hours I started to wonder if output was dropping slightly. Popped the battery out and it measured 0.97V, so I guess it was just dropping out of regulation. Got sidetracked for a moment and just came back to it now (10 hours) to find it well and truly in moon mode, which I'm sure will last until morning.

    On the basis of that single test agreeing reasonably well with the standard claimed runtime, it seems the LED is a pretty good match for the circuit, and will presumably be drawing a similar current. I normally use Energiser lithiums, so should be able to get more runtime with those.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Fenix E01 Warm white mod

    Quote Originally Posted by calipsoii View Post
    The stuff is a weird kind of dry, flaky plastic. It's nothing like the usual caulking or potting material you're used to.
    Looking at using an engraver to remove a bit of the gunk just to expose the LED as much as possible, does the legs of the LED get exposed if the flat side of the LED is on the right?

    I'm just wondering, if I use the tip of the soldering iron to cut into the material, other than possibly toxic fumes would there be any thing else to worry about?

  18. #18
    Enlightened
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    Default Re: Fenix E01 Warm white mod

    On the first image in post #4, the inductor looked like it got damaged. That might have an effect on the output somewhat.

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