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Thread: Any Ideas for Modding This Rayz (3) AAA?

  1. #1

    Default Any Ideas for Modding This Rayz (3) AAA?

    As a little background, I have two of these Rayz brand 3-count AAA lights. They are along the variety of the very cheap 9-LED kind you can get for just a few dollars; however, these seem to be a step above the cheapest in terms of build quality. They are certainly nothing special. In fact, once I started becoming a flashaholic 6 months ago, I realized my new ITP A3 put out much more light, among other benefits, than these flashlights.

    Anyway, I like tinkering with things, and I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions for modding these. I'm pretty handy, I have lots of tools, and I have basic soldering experience, but I've never modded any flashlights and I'm a little rusty on principles of electricity (volts, watts, Ohms, etc.). Of course, I'm willing to learn!

    Here are some pictures:







    In the second picture (sorry, a little blurry), you can see the positive contact in the head. The circuit board is held in with a retaining ring that has been wedged in and held in place by the threads. I imagine this shouldn't be a problem to remove. The interior diameter of the head is approximately 27mm.

    One thing that concerns me is that there is really no reflector in the light. There is maybe 15mm from the inside of the window to the back of where the circuit board currently sits. This may be a problem, as it's not much space.

    So has anyone modded one of these before? If not, what would you recommend? I willing accept the "lost cause" answer.

    Some other items:
    The batteries appear to be in series.
    The switch is junk, but I want to focus on the emitter.
    The build quality of the body isn't all that bad (then again, I'm new at this).

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Flashaholic* Mattaus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any Ideas for Modding This Rayz (3) AAA?

    what emitter is in it? Or is it, like you say, 9 5mm LEDs?

    I'd go for a new driver and emitter combo. Heaps of room to put a triple in there though you'd need to jimmy up a new heat sink as well.

    Personally I think the host looks nice and has potential.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Any Ideas for Modding This Rayz (3) AAA?

    It currently has 9, 5mm LEDs. I definitely want a new driver and emitter(s). I need to do some researching on my options.

    I agree. The host doesn't look bad at all. The build quality seems acceptable, and I like how it looks.

  4. #4
    Flashaholic* derfyled's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any Ideas for Modding This Rayz (3) AAA?

    There is not much you can do with it. There is no driver in these light, they are direct driven and there is almost no room to fit a reflector. Since you get around 4,5v and not a lot of amperage, you could consider building a direct drive mule (no reflector, only flood). I'm quite sure you would not fry the led but to be certain, you could add a little resistor. With a nice high CRI led, that can be a fun first project. These pure flood lights can be handy for close-up jobs and the high CRI will be nice if used outside...
    Last edited by derfyled; 04-14-2012 at 09:51 AM.
    sig line removed to help search function...

  5. #5

    Default Re: Any Ideas for Modding This Rayz (3) AAA?

    I love modding cheap lights like this. If you can reflow solder and etch your own PCB's, then there's a bunch of different ways to improve it.

    I always stick power LED's into them. When they have a shallow head like that, an XR-E or Oslon SSL makes for a nice little floody pocket light with their 90/80° viewing angles. But since there's roughly 15 mm of space, you should be able to find a TIR optic short enough to fit and then you can stick just about any LED in there. Etch a PCB and solder a couple of AMC7135's to it, power it with some lithium primaries or an 18500 and you have a nice DIY single mode light.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Any Ideas for Modding This Rayz (3) AAA?

    Thanks for the suggestions so far!

    I've decided to avoid the reflector issue and make a mule. I've been looking at DX for drivers and emitters. I think I'd like to get 3 modes, regulation (if possible), and I'm leaning towards an XM-L. I need to do lots more research.

    From what I gather, the AMC7135 is regulated, but is it just one mode? Would I need this with a separate driver to get multiple modes, or is there a different driver choice with regulation and multiple modes?

    As for the host, I found my second copy. I think I might actually have a third around here somewhere, but two is enough. Maybe this weekend I will have time to get one of the heads completely disassembled. At that point, I'll post some more pictures.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Any Ideas for Modding This Rayz (3) AAA?

    were you plannign on keeping the AAAs in it or useing a lithium? check out the NiMH batter shoot out for info on ho wmuch current you can expect to be able to get from them and how the voltage will holdup under load.

    the amc7135 is a regulator, there are many drivers that use it combined with other circuits and can give you multi mode.

    the XM-L is a nice LED, more efficient than the XP-G and uses a slightly lower voltage and thus willl run in regulation longer in a 7135 based driver.

    i have a little light like that (havnt modded it yet as i don't have anythign ot use as a heat sink). the retaining ring in the head came out pretty easy when i gripped it with needle nose plies and ripped it out (althought that ring was in bad shape after but i could still jam it in and have it work as normal).

  8. #8

    Default Re: Any Ideas for Modding This Rayz (3) AAA?

    Well almost two months, but I'm finished with my first mod!

    I used DX (part of the reason why it took me so long) and got an XR-E P4 LED (SKU 4877) along with a regulated driver (SKU 25518) based on the AMC7135.

    Here is the head after I finished:



    The process:
    First of all, sorry I didn't take any process pictures. I started off and just kept going. The whole process took maybe an hour and a half.
    - Removed retaining ring by drilling one of the relief notches (holes in ring in above pic), hand-driving a screw into the notch, and pulling it out with pliers. This probably isn't the most delicate method, but it worked fine.
    - De-soldered the nine existing 5mm LEDs. I decided it would be easiest if I could make use of the circuit board, as it was the correct size for the housing.
    - I cut the bottom out of the plastic "cup" that held the 9 LEDs in place. This made room for the driver to sit under the new LED. Again, I apologize for a lack of pictures.
    - I wanted the driver to be flush against the existing circuit board, so the easiest method was to drill a hole in the existing board and solder a spring directly to the driver's positive contact area. As you can see, the new spring passes through the old circuit board. Next I soldered a small wire from the driver's negative contact to the old circuit board.
    - Lastly, I used hot melt glue (I realize this is a bad idea) to hold everything in place and I soldered the wires from the driver to the LED star.

    The good:
    - It works! Everything went smoothly (unusual for me) and it is an improvement over the unmodified version!
    - The new LED star and driver fit well in the housing. I had no problems putting everything back together.

    The bad:
    - Hot-melt glue is not a good thing inside of a flashlight. I knew this, but I just wanted to get it to light up. It did, so I'm happy and not too concerned about the longevity of this mod.
    - I made no attempt at heatsinking. I realize this may be a problem down the line.
    - The LED tint seems a little purple. I don't recall noticing this the first time I used it. Is it possible that the purple tint is a result of heat damage?

    The surprising:
    - Five modes! DX didn't mention anything about the driver having multiple modes. It goes medium, low, high, disco (strobe) and SOS. I would rather go without the last two. Oh well.
    - I've never used a mule flashlight, I.E. all flood. Wow!

    Here it is. Note the hot melt glue holding everything in place. The LED star is actually centered pretty well though.



    Beamshots coming in a few hours when it gets dark out.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Any Ideas for Modding This Rayz (3) AAA?

    Nice work, it looks like they sent you the wrong driver. The photos and description show a single mode board.

    What are you using to power it? Still using triple A's?

  10. #10
    Flashaholic* derfyled's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any Ideas for Modding This Rayz (3) AAA?

    Cool !

    Now, you're hooked ! Next time, try a high CRI mule, you will be amazed how useful this little lamp can be.

    About the tint, the purple is possibly the result of overdriving. Since we don't know exactly what DX sent, it could be a direct drive board dimmed by PWM, so when you set it on high, it might receive around 4,5v from fresh AAA's, which is too much.
    sig line removed to help search function...

  11. #11

    Default Re: Any Ideas for Modding This Rayz (3) AAA?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike S View Post
    Nice work, it looks like they sent you the wrong driver. The photos and description show a single mode board.

    What are you using to power it? Still using triple A's?
    Yes, I'm still using the stock 3 count AAAs. They are wired in series and I'm using Eneloops.

  12. #12
    Flashaholic fishndad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any Ideas for Modding This Rayz (3) AAA?

    Quote Originally Posted by jamesmyname View Post
    Well almost two months, but I'm finished with my first mod!

    I used DX (part of the reason why it took me so long) and got an XR-E P4 LED (SKU 4877) along with a regulated driver (SKU 25518) based on the AMC7135.

    Here is the head after I finished:



    The process:
    First of all, sorry I didn't take any process pictures. I started off and just kept going. The whole process took maybe an hour and a half.
    - Removed retaining ring by drilling one of the relief notches (holes in ring in above pic), hand-driving a screw into the notch, and pulling it out with pliers. This probably isn't the most delicate method, but it worked fine.
    - De-soldered the nine existing 5mm LEDs. I decided it would be easiest if I could make use of the circuit board, as it was the correct size for the housing.
    - I cut the bottom out of the plastic "cup" that held the 9 LEDs in place. This made room for the driver to sit under the new LED. Again, I apologize for a lack of pictures.
    - I wanted the driver to be flush against the existing circuit board, so the easiest method was to drill a hole in the existing board and solder a spring directly to the driver's positive contact area. As you can see, the new spring passes through the old circuit board. Next I soldered a small wire from the driver's negative contact to the old circuit board.
    - Lastly, I used hot melt glue (I realize this is a bad idea) to hold everything in place and I soldered the wires from the driver to the LED star.

    The good:
    - It works! Everything went smoothly (unusual for me) and it is an improvement over the unmodified version!
    - The new LED star and driver fit well in the housing. I had no problems putting everything back together.

    The bad:
    - Hot-melt glue is not a good thing inside of a flashlight. I knew this, but I just wanted to get it to light up. It did, so I'm happy and not too concerned about the longevity of this mod.
    - I made no attempt at heatsinking. I realize this may be a problem down the line.
    - The LED tint seems a little purple. I don't recall noticing this the first time I used it. Is it possible that the purple tint is a result of heat damage?

    The surprising:
    - Five modes! DX didn't mention anything about the driver having multiple modes. It goes medium, low, high, disco (strobe) and SOS. I would rather go without the last two. Oh well.
    - I've never used a mule flashlight, I.E. all flood. Wow!

    Here it is. Note the hot melt glue holding everything in place. The LED star is actually centered pretty well though.



    Beamshots coming in a few hours when it gets dark out.
    i cant wait to see'em
    Union Proud IBEW Local 683

  13. #13

    Default Re: Any Ideas for Modding This Rayz (3) AAA?

    Here are the beamshots! Hopefully these are adequate; I've never done beamshots before. The camera is on the same setting for each shot and auto white balance is used. The wall is about 15 feet away from the camera and the lights are held right above the camera lens. I think the exposure was probably a bit too long for a good comparison, but these are decent at least.



    As you can see, the unmodified version has more throw but the spill looks about the same as the modified-low version. Modified-high really lights up the room! These shots don't do it justice in terms of showing the wall of light that this puts out.

    I have no idea about run time. I don't really want to do a run time test with my Eneloops for fear of over discharging them. I might just pick up some alkalines and try it with those.

    Also, I've yet to take it outside and see how far it throws. I live in the city and there aren't many nearby places without ambient light (street lights, etc.). Next time I'm visiting friends outside of the city I'll test it out and report back.

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