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Fraz Labs Mechanical Flashlights (formerly QTC Non-Battery Crush)

Joined
Sep 16, 2020
Messages
962
I would also really appreciate recommendations on the best tools for the job particularly for unscrewing the entire light engine. The narrow needle nose I have might work but I know it's not ideal. I imagine something like a 90° bent needle nose perhaps. I just want the best tool for the job so as not to risk any damage, which would be heartbreaking. If any of you could please recommend an exact make and model of tool it would be great!
If this is the type of engine you're referring to, I use the pictured tool to unscrew it. It's a DSLR lens bezel removal tool. It can adjust to different widths and the sharp end fits in the holes just fine. The engine is snug, but not a problem to remove.

IMG_2332.jpeg

image.jpg
 

Ocelot808

Enlightened
Joined
Aug 17, 2018
Messages
212
If this is the type of engine you're referring to, I use the pictured tool to unscrew it. It's a DSLR lens bezel removal tool. It can adjust to different widths and the sharp end fits in the holes just fine. The engine is snug, but not a problem to remove.

View attachment 57250
View attachment 57251

That is PRECISELY what I had in mind for the optimal removal tool. Thanks a million!

Any recommendations on the right tool for the hex head screws securing the MCPCB and should I use some Arctic Silver on the back of the new ones?

I really would love to hear the experiences of others that have tried different LED combinations.


Thanks in advance!
 
Joined
Sep 16, 2020
Messages
962
That is PRECISELY what I had in mind for the optimal removal tool. Thanks a million!

Any recommendations on the right tool for the hex head screws securing the MCPCB and should I use some Arctic Silver on the back of the new ones?

I really would love to hear the experiences of others that have tried different LED combinations.


Thanks in advance!
I haven't removed my MCPCB, but in my experience with drivers, Wiha is a good choice. Cheaper no-name sets have bits that are out of spec (run small) with softer metal and will deform and strip more easily. I've even had a cheap one twist when under moderate torque.

I use Arctic Silver on all my swaps, but maybe check with Fraz or Speckacuda on what can be used. If the new board is installed with (or without) paste like the stock board, it should be good.
 

speckacuda

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Sep 12, 2019
Messages
96
Location
Arkansas
"You have insufficient privileges to post threads here" when I try to post in the Vendor Display.

Have you seen that same message?

You could post a new thread in general flashlight discussion or LED flashlights then you (or I) could report it and ask Big Ed to put it in Vendor Display.

Maybe post more than one if you want.

Yes, that's the message! I'll work up a doozie and get it posted in the next few days, and hopefully a kind mod will direct me in its placement... Thanks, Kitro!!

I am really excited to see the Lumenite II comeback, especially with a narrow cell 21700 body that resembles the proportions of the QT-L 18650. Less chonky than the 26650, which has been more difficult to get quality cells for lately. Which signals a trend.

I am absolutely thrilled with the performance of my QT-L Tiny Nuggets but the tinkerer in me is itching to try some alternative LEDs. SFT40, 519A, 219B, Osram W2, old XPL-HI, maybe even a Seoul 5W 365nm UV. I would really appreciate detailed feedback and opinions of others that may have already tried these or others with their results.

I would also really appreciate recommendations on the best tools for the job particularly for unscrewing the entire light engine. The narrow needle nose I have might work but I know it's not ideal. I imagine something like a 90° bent needle nose perhaps. I just want the best tool for the job so as not to risk any damage, which would be heartbreaking. If any of you could please recommend an exact make and model of tool it would be great!

Otherwise I have read that all that is necessary to remove the MCPCB hold down screws is a 7/64" hex Allen key, which I don't yet have. 7/64 is 2.78mm, so a 2.5mm (I do have) might work but I don't want to risk stripping the head. I figure a coating of Arctic Silver 5 on the back of the MCPCB is a good idea. I am very grateful to anyone that can share their experiences and lend any advice.

Lastly, can anyone advise me on how to remove the piston to replace the QTC material? I made the newbie mistake with one QT-L of overtightening to find the max output and fairly sure I oversqueezed the QTC. it no longer smoothly ramps when tightening, kinda jumps up levels but stays constant when set. Then just a smidge tighter and it's direct drive. So this one is the modding candidate now.

Thanks in advance to anyone offering their suggestions, opinions and help.

For Felicia and Paul, my sincere thanks for your persistence, determination, and hard work in materializing your dream for flashlights. You have accomplished something tangible that in my opinion has no direct competition. It's a brilliant design, beautifully executed. Count on me as a lifelong customer and loyal supporter.

Alrighty, I'm breaking yours down a bit for my answering ability...

The Lumenite II is still big. Husky isn't close, she's a Large Marge. However, the overall dimensions are almost the same as the original Qzark, if anyone remembers those. If not, I'll have photos as soon as we are done testing and I'll give y'all a comparison. The battery tube will accommodate both batteries, so this one will be a one-purchase-wonder (one cost for two battery types). I'll have more specs when we are closer to the drop.

We use needle nosed pliers for all the engines in all the flashlights, no need for 90*s! The only requirement is that the nose pieces fit into the holes on the engine. Here's a photo of the easiest way to do it, take the pliers and hold them in the middle (see photo, I'm bad with words) and let gravity help - hold the pliers still with your hand in the middle, while twisting the bezel loose from the engine with your other hand. The engine will stay upright, with the optic still on top (this is key, they are hard to clean. It may also stick to the oring at the top, so watch out). We use thermal paste (not sure of the kind, it was my first bulk order of the stuff), just make sure it's not the kind that perma-sticks the MCPCB down and you're golden. The size of the screw hex is 7/64". I can mail you a hex key if you'd like, just let me know!!

Sidenote - I plan on having some hex keys for the next drop. We are slowly building a "mod kit" of sorts to be available soon, so if that's something you'd like to see, please let me know.

Flip the piece of QTC over, it acts like a reset button (for lack of better term) and brings back the ramping ability a bit. Additional QTC should be available on the site this year, also!!

Thermal Guy got you on the next part, just smack and swipe.

Last, but certainly not least, thanks so much for the kind words. The only reason we are still rolling is because you are all still interested - we love that some of y'all have been here for the last decade or so (aka: 90 pages)!! For everyone who has answered questions in our absence, we thank you for helping us make huge strides behind the scenes. This is going to be a fun year!!

PXL_20240205_051157636.MP.jpg
 

KITROBASKIN

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Mar 28, 2013
Messages
5,429
Location
New Mexico, USA
Hey, I wrote this in the U.S. made flashlights thread and thought I would copy it here. I was asked the question of protected or unprotected batteries in a Fraz flashlight:

One of the lesser known wonderful things about current Fraz lights is that you can use either! (as you know). I have no qualms about using unprotected because max brightness will disappear when the battery gets low. I am good about not leaving it after use on really low, and even when I did leave it on overnight early on, the loss is minimal, and I use them regularly so the high brightness loss will become evident. Since I am in a pattern with them, it is easy to charge them every couple weeks or more, without ending up below 3.6V.

(Our dog flashlights (Emisar, Zebralight) have state of charge indicators, and we like to charge them at about 3.8V but wife fairly regularly takes hers lower. Son? Forget it. He is relegated to NimH.)

That said, when starting this rewarding hobby, I had flashlights that were suited for protected batteries and I was OK with that. Then Zebralight continued chasing smallness and required unprotected. Emisar requires unprotected, so I ended up not really using the protected 18650's.

Now I can use those protected cells in the Fraz; Great!

It gets me that a reviewer wrote about Fraz, complaining that they do not have low voltage protection baked in. Ignorance. The beauty of Fraz is the simplicity and the flash-in-the-pan reviewer wants it to be more complicated to suit his beliefs and low functioning users. I mean, if you are using a Fraz, you will see when it can't be run on high. Charge it. Or you will remember your pattern of charging.

If you are forgetful, or stressed, and you take an unprotected cell to null. Oh well, spend $10 or whatever and get another battery. Then keep track of things. Fraz is simple. Fraz works. Don't expect it to be something it is not.
 

Ocelot808

Enlightened
Joined
Aug 17, 2018
Messages
212
As an extension of the Fraz simplicity above all philosophy, an unprotected cell shares the design of only the necessary components. I was always leery of a cheap microelectronic circuit sandwiched directly In the current path of the cell and jammed into the cell body. Excessive failure points and current losses that outweigh any advantage to idiot proofing the cell.

Protection circuits really only have a valid application in multiple cell in series arrangements which are rather rare these days. Even those are fine using unprotected with cell matching and charging discipline.

It all comes down to how conscientious the operator is about good battery charging and maintenance.

In the case of Fraz lights by virtue of their design as an unregulated variation on direct drive it becomes easily evident when the max output falls to a degree that charging should be imminent. The only likely way to overdischarge an unprotected cell is to completely forget to turn it off. Otherwise the brightness loss is so gradual that there is a large window of opportunity to change cells well before reaching below 3V. It's really effortless in real world use.
 

KITROBASKIN

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Mar 28, 2013
Messages
5,429
Location
New Mexico, USA
Yes.
I purchased protected cells for a Nitecore TM26 (4X18650) but that torch was not necessary for our needs. Kept the batteries for use in Eagtac, etc. flashlights. Never had an IC failure or hiccup. Works great in a Fraz.
 

JohnTz

Enlightened
Joined
Jan 29, 2008
Messages
424
Location
chicago
For the daily users of the Fraz. Can you share how long your QTC pill lasts?

I love this light and it's become my do it all user. The simplicity of it makes it very attractive to me. Probably turn it on and off 20 times a day and maybe half of those to full power. It seems that the QTC material starts to lose performance after about a month of use in this pattern. Are you seeing something similar? It's no big deal as it's a two second process to switch out the pill but am nervous about finding this stuff in quantity.
 

Ocelot808

Enlightened
Joined
Aug 17, 2018
Messages
212
For the daily users of the Fraz. Can you share how long your QTC pill lasts?

I love this light and it's become my do it all user. The simplicity of it makes it very attractive to me. Probably turn it on and off 20 times a day and maybe half of those to full power. It seems that the QTC material starts to lose performance after about a month of use in this pattern. Are you seeing something similar? It's no big deal as it's a two second process to switch out the pill but am nervous about finding this stuff in quantity.
I will share this with you. With my first Tiny Nugget, I was overtightening the light trying to "squeeze" out the highest output and suddenly the brightness ramping became really flickery and nonlinear. Obviously I must have squished the QTC and ruined it. On advice I got here I removed the brass piston and simply flipped the material upside down and VOILA! It acted like a complete "reset" and has worked exactly as new for the last 2 months. No need to replace it!

Lots of love for Felecia for suggesting this wonderfully simple fix! 💖

I do share your concern that the QTC which was once plentiful and cheap is now rather hard to find and Felecia assures me she is working on finding a more plentiful source to offer everyone. In the meantime, take comfort in knowing the QTC flip technique works as well as it does.

Visit the previous page of posts for the piston removal "technique" explained.
 

intake_monk

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Sep 28, 2023
Messages
81
Location
California
I am really excited to see the Lumenite II comeback, especially with a narrow cell 21700 body that resembles the proportions of the QT-L 18650. Less chonky than the 26650, which has been more difficult to get quality cells for lately. Which signals a trend.

I am absolutely thrilled with the performance of my QT-L Tiny Nuggets but the tinkerer in me is itching to try some alternative LEDs. SFT40, 519A, 219B, Osram W2, old XPL-HI, maybe even a Seoul 5W 365nm UV. I would really appreciate detailed feedback and opinions of others that may have already tried these or others with their results.

I would also really appreciate recommendations on the best tools for the job particularly for unscrewing the entire light engine. The narrow needle nose I have might work but I know it's not ideal. I imagine something like a 90° bent needle nose perhaps. I just want the best tool for the job so as not to risk any damage, which would be heartbreaking. If any of you could please recommend an exact make and model of tool it would be great!

Otherwise I have read that all that is necessary to remove the MCPCB hold down screws is a 7/64" hex Allen key, which I don't yet have. 7/64 is 2.78mm, so a 2.5mm (I do have) might work but I don't want to risk stripping the head. I figure a coating of Arctic Silver 5 on the back of the MCPCB is a good idea. I am very grateful to anyone that can share their experiences and lend any advice.

Lastly, can anyone advise me on how to remove the piston to replace the QTC material? I made the newbie mistake with one QT-L of overtightening to find the max output and fairly sure I oversqueezed the QTC. it no longer smoothly ramps when tightening, kinda jumps up levels but stays constant when set. Then just a smidge tighter and it's direct drive. So this one is the modding candidate now.

Thanks in advance to anyone offering their suggestions, opinions and help.

For Felicia and Paul, my sincere thanks for your persistence, determination, and hard work in materializing your dream for flashlights. You have accomplished something tangible that in my opinion has no direct competition. It's a brilliant design, beautifully executed. Count on me as a lifelong customer and loyal supporter.
Sorry, way late to the party on this comment. But if you're trying to switch out the light engine, I went through a few pliers before I got these cheap-os and they work perfectly fine.

 

JohnTz

Enlightened
Joined
Jan 29, 2008
Messages
424
Location
chicago
I will share this with you. With my first Tiny Nugget, I was overtightening the light trying to "squeeze" out the highest output and suddenly the brightness ramping became really flickery and nonlinear. Obviously I must have squished the QTC and ruined it. On advice I got here I removed the brass piston and simply flipped the material upside down and VOILA! It acted like a complete "reset" and has worked exactly as new for the last 2 months. No need to replace it!

Lots of love for Felecia for suggesting this wonderfully simple fix! 💖

I do share your concern that the QTC which was once plentiful and cheap is now rather hard to find and Felecia assures me she is working on finding a more plentiful source to offer everyone. In the meantime, take comfort in knowing the QTC flip technique works as well as it does.

Visit the previous page of posts for the piston removal "technique" explained.
Yes flipping it does work for a while. No idea how you can over tighten it as when it goes into direct drive the piston is touching the contact directly so no amount of torque will over squeeze the pill. It just bottoms out.
 

Ocelot808

Enlightened
Joined
Aug 17, 2018
Messages
212
Sorry, way late to the party on this comment. But if you're trying to switch out the light engine, I went through a few pliers before I got these cheap-os and they work perfectly fine.

Thanks a million for the suggestion. Last week I took a gamble on what I thought would work and I decided on basically the same: an inexpensive Amazon set of round nose jewelers pliers. Yours is better with 7" length but mine work very well with 5" length.

I wanted to go with the superlative recommendation of the SLR ring pliers generously submitted by @scalpel_ninja but these round nose straight jewelers pliers were much simpler and a fraction of the cost.

1000007029.jpg


Ive heard word from Felecia that they are setting up a DIY "mod kit" with tools that will be available on the websites accessory page. As of February 14th she received a bulk order box of 7/64" hex keys for the MCPCB hold down screws intended for customer use.

The only remaining unresolved issue is the plentiful supply of QTC material nubs for super long term longevity's sake but I understand that it is in the works also.

Thanks Felecia for everything!
 
Last edited:

Ocelot808

Enlightened
Joined
Aug 17, 2018
Messages
212
I'd like to take a survey of existing QT-L Tiny Nugget owners that have performed emitter swaps. If you could please detail your experiences and impressions of the changes.

Thanks very much in advance for your help.
 

intake_monk

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Sep 28, 2023
Messages
81
Location
California
Thanks a million for the suggestion. Last week I took a gamble on what I thought would work and I decided on basically the same: an inexpensive Amazon set of round nose jewelers pliers. Yours is better with 7" length but mine work very well with 5" length.

I wanted to go with the superlative recommendation of the SLR ring pliers generously submitted by @scalpel_ninja but these round nose straight jewelers pliers were much simpler and a fraction of the cost.

View attachment 57912

Ive heard word from Felecia that they are setting up a DIY "mod kit" with tools that will be available on the websites accessory page. As of February 14th she received a bulk order box of 7/64" hex keys for the MCPCB hold down screws intended for customer use.

The only remaining unresolved issue is the plentiful supply of QTC material nubs for super long term longevity's sake but I understand that it is in the works also.

Thanks Felecia for everything!
Oh nice, I'll have to get some of those hex keys. That would be great for me since I'm a simpleton with a penchant for stripping screws. Also, do the jeweler pliers you got actually have bluetooth for something? Or am I mistaking that symbol on the pink ribbon in the upper left haha?
 

Ocelot808

Enlightened
Joined
Aug 17, 2018
Messages
212
@intake_monk Why of course o sharp eyed one, the jeweler's pliers can be Bluetooth enabled to vary the jaw clamping force by using your smartphone volume control. The pink ribbon is for breast cancer awareness.

Just send Felecia an email with your address and she will mail you a Magic MCPCB deattachuator/reassemblatron implement in 7/64" SAE flavor. She is wonderful!

.....................

Still sending up the Bat Signal to hear from Fraz emitter swap people on their experience. Please.
 
Last edited:

KITROBASKIN

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Mar 28, 2013
Messages
5,429
Location
New Mexico, USA
For the daily users of the Fraz. Can you share how long your QTC pill lasts?

I love this light and it's become my do it all user. The simplicity of it makes it very attractive to me. Probably turn it on and off 20 times a day and maybe half of those to full power. It seems that the QTC material starts to lose performance after about a month of use in this pattern. Are you seeing something similar? It's no big deal as it's a two second process to switch out the pill but am nervous about finding this stuff in quantity.
Similar. As written on this thread previously, twisting on fully with a well used QTC and leaving it on for a while, it will get brighter.
 
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