Fenix PD32 LED change out to XP-G2

hiuintahs

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Now that I have picked up a PD32UE, I've been thinking of either selling me PD32 or changing out the LED. I know some on CPF have changed out the LED on this one and so I guess it can be done, but just how do you open it up to get at the LED?

I'm assuming that you unscrew the end of the head where the reflector is rather than going in through the end where the printed circuit board is? I put a rubber strap wrench on it and twisted but I could not hold the other end with my hand tight enough to keep it from spinning in my fingers. Before attempting something more aggressive like a vise, I thought I'd better ask.

Also when replacing the LED, do you use a bare emitter or one that is already attached to a disc? I'm thinking I'd like to try an XP-G2........hopefully one in the 5000 to 6000k color area.

Thanks in advance!
 
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hiuintahs

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Re: Fenix PD32 LED change out

I managed to unscrew the head apart using 2 rubber strap wrenches with the help of my son holding one tight while I held the other and rotated. Sweet, no scratches or marring at all.

So now what to do? I see that the XP-G emitter is surface mounted on a round disc which is kind of what I expected to see, however its not exactly round all the way as it has a cut-out for a screw. I'll have to do some research to see what is available as I'd like to replace with an XP-G2 or maybe Nichia 219.

Now that I have the head apart, I think the hard part is over. Anyone know where to get a replacement LED that would fit this?

 

THE_dAY

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Re: Fenix PD32 LED change out

You can get an XPG2 or Nichia 219 from Illumination Supply.

I see they have an XPG2 R5 in 5000K tint.
 

hiuintahs

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Re: Fenix PD32 LED change out

You can get an XPG2 or Nichia 219 from Illumination Supply.

I see they have an XPG2 R5 in 5000K tint.

Thanks for pointing that out. I noticed they are on either a 10mm or 20mm mcpcb. I wonder which one would be the best? The existing diameter of mcpcb is around 17mm. 20mm would be too big but I could file the sides to make fit and hopefully the LED is still centered. The 10mm would fit but nothing to hold it in the center. Thus it looks as though some type of thermal epoxy or thermal grease.
 

Toaster79

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Re: Fenix PD32 LED change out

I would reflow new led to original board anyway since it's copper. So buy tint of your choice no matter what board they are mounted to.
 

think2x

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Re: Fenix PD32 LED change out

I would reflow new led to original board anyway since it's copper. So buy tint of your choice no matter what board they are mounted to.

This is the best method to use when swapping emitters of a common footprint.
 

hiuintahs

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Re: Fenix PD32 LED change out

Thanks guys. So I should buy a bare emitter rather than one on a star or MCPCB. But this begs another question.

Since it looks like the LED is surface mount soldered without tabs, how do you heat it up enough to melt the solder. I guess just placing a soldering iron near the LED heats the whole MCPCB up enough that it comes loose and then I guess you have to be accurate to center the new one when you solder it, right?
 

Esko

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Re: Fenix PD32 LED change out

Thanks for pointing that out. I noticed they are on either a 10mm or 20mm mcpcb. I wonder which one would be the best? The existing diameter of mcpcb is around 17mm. 20mm would be too big but I could file the sides to make fit and hopefully the LED is still centered. The 10mm would fit but nothing to hold it in the center. Thus it looks as though some type of thermal epoxy or thermal grease.

It looks like the orange collar is the centering device/aid (together with the reflector).
 

think2x

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Re: Fenix PD32 LED change out

It looks like the orange collar is the centering device/aid (together with the reflector).

Correct. Mine was a darker red though.

@ hiuintahs......I PM'ed you a response with a good explanation with links and pics, I hope it helps. Feel free to PM further if you like.

Jamie
 

hiuintahs

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Re: Fenix PD32 LED change out

Thanks think2x, I feel I have been through LED reflow school now. I don't see how the orange collar could be a centering device though. Once the LED is soldered onto the MCPCB, its not going anywhere. I think its just to keep light from reflecting back down and maybe to just give it more polished look quality wise.
 

hiuintahs

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Re: Fenix PD32 LED change out

by the way, what is the K rating of the PD32 T6 XM-L LED ?.
thank you...

I haven't been told exactly what the PD32UE bin # is but based on what it looks like to me from other LED's where I do know what their bin is, I'd have to guess somewhere in the 4800 to 5200K area. It kind of looks like a 3C or 3D bin. I've had both and it's about that kind of neutral. Others may chime in if they think its something else.
 

neutralwhite

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Re: Fenix PD32 LED change out

BIG thanks hiuintahs!. anyone else?.
thanks..

I haven't been told exactly what the PD32UE bin # is but based on what it looks like to me from other LED's where I do know what their bin is, I'd have to guess somewhere in the 4800 to 5200K area. It kind of looks like a 3C or 3D bin. I've had both and it's about that kind of neutral. Others may chime in if they think its something else.
 

think2x

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Re: Fenix PD32 LED change out

I don't see how the orange collar could be a centering device though. Once the LED is soldered onto the MCPCB, its not going anywhere. I think its just to keep light from reflecting back down and maybe to just give it more polished look quality wise.

The ridge on the outer most edge of the orange ring seats into the recessed groove in opening of the reflector, ensuring they line up. The reflector also uses this to apply the force to hold the mcpcb down tightly to the head for heatsinking because it's not glued it instead just uses thermal paste.
 

hiuintahs

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Re: Fenix PD32 LED change out

Glad to hear that the mcpcb isn't glued. Now that I think about that, this is an excellent way to center the LED and hold it against the heatsink at the same time. Now I'm off to order an XP-G2 LED and will report back later.
 

hiuintahs

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Re: Fenix PD32 LED change out

OK, So I finally finished doing this upgrade. I finally bought some XP-G2 LED's. Good thing I bought 2 as I ruined one of them. In the process of thinking I needed to tin the bottom of the new LED..............what actually happened was the emitter came off of its base. Not sure you can even fix it. So moved onto the spare LED I had bought. Actually I was going to do this to 2 PD32's but will wait til I have to place an order again with Mouser.

I found that reflowing the LED wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. I used a heat gun that I think is rated at 15 amps so gets hot quick. I duck taped the heat gun to my bench so that it was standing upward. I then used some helping hands hold the LED MCPCB about 1 inch above the nozzle and as far as time goes...........only left the heat on til it barely turned red inside the heat gun which was maybe 10 or 15 seconds. That was all it took to remove the LED. Then I recoated a thin layer of solder on the MCPCB along with some solder flux and centered the LED onto it...........turned on the heat gun............a few seconds later the solder flux was boiling and I killed the heat. Basically I was using about the same amount of time from when I removed the LED in the first place. If anything I did was wrong it was that I probably didn't need to recoat a thin layer of solder to the MCPCB. I was a little worried that too much solder would elevate the LED from the heat sinking capability of the MCPCB but it looked pretty low to the board so probably just fine.

I did a little before and after lux readings from my light meter and light box and this is what I got.

XP-G / XP-G2
Low 370 / 467
Med 4380 / 5180
High 8330 / 9300
Highest 19850 / 20900

And here is a picture of the beam. The modified PD32 with XP-G2 is on the left. A stock PD32 with XP-G on the right. The bin that I was using was R5, 2B tint. You definitely could tell it was more neutral than the stock PD32 with XP-G. In fact that has been one of my complaints with Fenix on the PD32............is that the tints are more on the cool white side than I prefer. Also one other thing I noticed as far as XP-G vs XP-G2 was that I was thinking that the XP-G2 would be more of a focused beam because the viewing angle is slightly less than the XP-G but it actually was a little wider hot spot or should I say the hot spot transition was more gradual on the XP-G2. The XP-G has a definite defined hot spot. Not sure the picture below does it justice as I've explained it.

So I have to say that I really like this XP-G2 in the PD32..............it's more neutral, has slightly better efficiency, and I'm not a big fan of tight hot spots and this XP-G2 was a pleasant surprise for me.

 
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mckeand13

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Re: Fenix PD32 LED change out

Great info!

im planning on an LED swap in my PD31. Hopefully it's similar inside.

Did you just unsolder the two wires going to the mcpcb and remove it?

Anything holding it down once the reflector was off?

Did the orange centering ring come off and go back on easy?

Exactly which led did you put in there.

Thanks!
 

hiuintahs

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Re: Fenix PD32 LED change out

The hardest part was getting the head off. It was glued onto the threads with some type of thread locker or Loc-tite. I used 2 rubber strap wrenches. I've removed the heads on 3 PD32's so far and one of them I could get off with my son holding one of the strap wrenches while I held the other side. I always try to keep them away from the rubber side switch so as to not damage it. On two of them I had to put one of the strap wrenchs in the bench vice and clamp just hard enough to keep from spinning without damaging the head.

Yes I did unsolder the red and black wires going to the mcpcb. Then the mcpcb just lifts out. There was just some white thermal paste under it. The orange centering ring just sits there and so falls off if you turn it upside down. I cleaned the white paste off of the mcpcb before heating it up and then reapplied some more when reassembling it all back together after the new LED was mounted. I ended up using an XP-G2 LED with a 2B color tint.........not the most neutral but a lot more neutral than the stock PD32. Well, it just looks white to me with no hint of blue at all. I bought the LED from Mouser Electronics after I had talked to customer service so that they could tell me the bin code of the reel. It's interesting that these electronic supply companies only publish the part number not realizing there is more to an LED than that.
 
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