Modifying an SST-50? Replacing engine and LED.

Sniperboy

Active member
Joined
Dec 18, 2003
Messages
42
Location
[PURGATORY], CA
I have a Mac's SST-50 EDC in brass. Does anyone know a reputable modder who can work on it?

Right now it exhibits a high pitched hummmm when on medium setting (I've tried all the old folk remedies posted on CPF it seems, change batteries, loosen/tighten the light engine in the head, spin around 3 times while drinking cold water - but it doesn't work.)... and I also want to change the LED. The humm is not terribly annoying but if I change the LED I might as well look to remedy the humm.

I wonder if the humm is like the old "mosquito deterrent" we used to wear in the 80s? : )

BTW I already asked FLUCERO and Frank said that he won't be able to change the engine, he only works on TRI EDCs.
Thanks in advance.
 

RUSH FAN

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 22, 2013
Messages
1,159
Location
USA
Hey Sniper-

Nice to hear from you. I hope that all is well.
I am throwing in my humble 2 cents.
Vinh Nguyen has done work on some of my Mac's in the past.
He might be a possible lead.
Good luck!
 

Sniperboy

Active member
Joined
Dec 18, 2003
Messages
42
Location
[PURGATORY], CA
Thanks for the heads up Paul. Vinh has done good work for me in the past and a great guy to boot.
I'll drop him a line. I appreciate the reminder.
 

badtziscool

Well-known member
CPF Supporter
Joined
Oct 13, 2006
Messages
1,609
I think an sst50 is a bit harder to work on because Mac actually bonded the led to the brass pill rather than to a standard size pcb and then the pill. At least from what I remember in past photos. The pill will need to be machined in order to accept any other LEDs besides the sst50.
 

Sniperboy

Active member
Joined
Dec 18, 2003
Messages
42
Location
[PURGATORY], CA
Thanks for the heads up. Seems like a predicament. Oh well I'm actually ok as it is but thought to do research.
Any options for replacing the entire engine?
Prolly not cost effective.
 

IsaacL

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 15, 2010
Messages
624
Badtziscool is right, the SST-50's were reflowed directly to the pill.
P1040230-vi.jpg


As for the hum, it is called inductor whine and can be fixed by reprogramming the levels to different frequencies. FWIW, most lights have this high frequency whine on one at least one mode. My Oveready Triple, Surefire V2 Vampire, and SOYCD Tri-EDC all have different frequency whines if you listen closely. Other lights I've own did so as well.

You could get the driver swapped or reprogrammed...its not any different from working on a Tri-EDC. Or....you can find someone to machine a pill...then adding the LED, MPCB, and driver should be something most modders can do. The threading for the pill should be 7/8-28 UN.

My .02 would be to keep the SST-50 engine and just upgrade the driver. Here's why, I know that the SST-50 seems like old technology, but the it is actually a very powerful emitter. Right now, it's only being driven at either 1.2A or 2.8A. However, it is capable of up to 5A of current and a maximum of 3.9 forward volts. For reference, that is 19.5W of power!!! Max junction temp is also pretty good, 150C. But here is the real kicker, these suckers were designed to put out over 1,150 lumens at max drive levels. Of course, OTF lumens will be less depending on thermal management, optics, driver efficiency, etc...

What does that mean for you? It means you have a beast just waiting to be unleashed. It means that the LED is bonded to the heatsink for very good heat dissipation. It means, with minimal effort, the driver can be swapped for something much more powerful and with the option for custom firmware and user programming. Sure, an XM-L2 may have better efficiency per watt at a much lower drive current. But if you give this baby enough juice, it can hold it's own quite nicely. Even though you're limited to an IMR 16340, you can still run it at ~4A and see a significant boost in output.

If I am mistaken about any of the data above, please correct me.

Here's the data sheet from Luminus

As far as batteries go, your best options are AW IMR16340 (red), Efest IMR16340 V2 (red), or AWT IMR16340 (yellow). AW is considered the gold standard for IMR cells but both the Efest and AWT look like they outperform the AW 16340's.
 
Last edited:

KDM

Well-known member
Joined
May 31, 2012
Messages
2,010
Location
Tennessee
A couple of other things to try is replacing the McClicky switch, just because it still operates the connection internally may be fatigued. I have experienced this with these switches and it is more than likely oxidation of the contacts or just worn contacts. Another possible cause can be the driver not getting a proper ground, this too can be oxidation related. It only takes a very small amount of moving the driver up and down on the pill to clean the contact for a better connection. *Caution* this could damage your driver beyond repair so only attempt this with that understood. It's the outter ring on the driver that is press fit into the pill that grounds the circuit. A poor connection here, the switch, nasty threads, or a combination of any can cause the problem you describe.
 

lightknot

Well-known member
CPF Supporter
Joined
Apr 8, 2009
Messages
3,084
Location
Tucson, AZ USA
Badtziscool is right, the SST-50's were reflowed directly to the pill.
P1040230-vi.jpg


As for the hum, it is called inductor whine and can be fixed by reprogramming the levels to different frequencies. FWIW, most lights have this high frequency whine on one at least one mode. My Oveready Triple, Surefire V2 Vampire, and SOYCD Tri-EDC all have different frequency whines if you listen closely. Other lights I've own did so as well.

You could get the driver swapped or reprogrammed...its not any different from working on a Tri-EDC. Or....you can find someone to machine a pill...then adding the LED, MPCB, and driver should be something most modders can do. The threading for the pill should be 7/8-28 UN.

My .02 would be to keep the SST-50 engine and just upgrade the driver. Here's why, I know that the SST-50 seems like old technology, but the it is actually a very powerful emitter. Right now, it's only being driven at either 1.2A or 2.8A. However, it is capable of up to 5A of current and a maximum of 3.9 forward volts. For reference, that is 19.5W of power!!! Max junction temp is also pretty good, 150C. But here is the real kicker, these suckers were designed to put out over 1,150 lumens at max drive levels. Of course, OTF lumens will be less depending on thermal management, optics, driver efficiency, etc...

What does that mean for you? It means you have a beast just waiting to be unleashed. It means that the LED is bonded to the heatsink for very good heat dissipation. It means, with minimal effort, the driver can be swapped for something much more powerful and with the option for custom firmware and user programming. Sure, an XM-L2 may have better efficiency per watt at a much lower drive current. But if you give this baby enough juice, it can hold it's own quite nicely. Even though you're limited to an IMR 16340, you can still run it at ~4A and see a significant boost in output.

If I am mistaken about any of the data above, please correct me.

Here's the data sheet from Luminus

As far as batteries go, your best options are AW IMR16340 (red), Efest IMR16340 V2 (red), or AWT IMR16340 (yellow). AW is considered the gold standard for IMR cells but both the Efest and AWT look like they outperform the AW 16340's.

Thinking of doing exactly this, replacing the driver, on a Mac's SST50. Thanks for the write up.
 

gonefishing

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 18, 2012
Messages
352
Badtziscool is right, the SST-50's were reflowed directly to the pill.
P1040230-vi.jpg


As for the hum, it is called inductor whine and can be fixed by reprogramming the levels to different frequencies. FWIW, most lights have this high frequency whine on one at least one mode. My Oveready Triple, Surefire V2 Vampire, and SOYCD Tri-EDC all have different frequency whines if you listen closely. Other lights I've own did so as well.

You could get the driver swapped or reprogrammed...its not any different from working on a Tri-EDC. Or....you can find someone to machine a pill...then adding the LED, MPCB, and driver should be something most modders can do. The threading for the pill should be 7/8-28 UN.

My .02 would be to keep the SST-50 engine and just upgrade the driver. Here's why, I know that the SST-50 seems like old technology, but the it is actually a very powerful emitter. Right now, it's only being driven at either 1.2A or 2.8A. However, it is capable of up to 5A of current and a maximum of 3.9 forward volts. For reference, that is 19.5W of power!!! Max junction temp is also pretty good, 150C. But here is the real kicker, these suckers were designed to put out over 1,150 lumens at max drive levels. Of course, OTF lumens will be less depending on thermal management, optics, driver efficiency, etc...

What does that mean for you? It means you have a beast just waiting to be unleashed. It means that the LED is bonded to the heatsink for very good heat dissipation. It means, with minimal effort, the driver can be swapped for something much more powerful and with the option for custom firmware and user programming. Sure, an XM-L2 may have better efficiency per watt at a much lower drive current. But if you give this baby enough juice, it can hold it's own quite nicely. Even though you're limited to an IMR 16340, you can still run it at ~4A and see a significant boost in output.

If I am mistaken about any of the data above, please correct me.

Here's the data sheet from Luminus

As far as batteries go, your best options are AW IMR16340 (red), Efest IMR16340 V2 (red), or AWT IMR16340 (yellow). AW is considered the gold standard for IMR cells but both the Efest and AWT look like they outperform the AW 16340's.

You never seem to amaze with your flashlight knowledge! Your post is why I'm keeping the SST-50 and getting a driver upgrade. I'm also having it bored out for big, bad, 18350's:D BTW, I purchased this very light the OP is speaking about. The hum is only slightly noticeable
.
 

KDM

Well-known member
Joined
May 31, 2012
Messages
2,010
Location
Tennessee
I just recently replaced the driver in my sst-50. I swapped it out for a 1.5 amp, 4 mode (moon,2%,33%,100%) constant current driver. The light originally had a 2.8 amp driver but I was more interested in keeping the lower modes low. The high output is still impressive for only being pushed at 1.5 amps.


This can be done without removing the reflector, which is a pita, by removing and disconnecting the wires from the driver. As you can see additional modules can be added to the driver to bring it up to 3 amps.
 

IsaacL

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 15, 2010
Messages
624
You never seem to amaze with your flashlight knowledge! Your post is why I'm keeping the SST-50 and getting a driver upgrade. I'm also having it bored out for big, bad, 18350's:D BTW, I purchased this very light the OP is speaking about. The hum is only slightly noticeable
.

Thanks. I spend a good deal of time reading. Good call having it bored. The new 18mm AW's will have no problem handling 5A if you decide to go that route ;) Let us know how the upgrade goes.

I just recently replaced the driver in my sst-50. I swapped it out for a 1.5 amp, 4 mode (moon,2%,33%,100%) constant current driver. The light originally had a 2.8 amp driver but I was more interested in keeping the lower modes low. The high output is still impressive for only being pushed at 1.5 amps.

This can be done without removing the reflector, which is a pita, by removing and disconnecting the wires from the driver. As you can see additional modules can be added to the driver to bring it up to 3 amps.

Nice mod!
 

KDM

Well-known member
Joined
May 31, 2012
Messages
2,010
Location
Tennessee
Thanks IsaacL!

One point I'll add about people having pwm noise issues with the drivers. I've had this problem with the same type driver in different lights. If the driver isn't making good contact between the outer ground ring and the pill it can cause this sound. If it isn't seated properly or has surface oxidation either of these conditions are possible causes.
 

benchrest

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 28, 2014
Messages
182
Location
Rural Saskatchewan, Canada
I just recently replaced the driver in my sst-50. I swapped it out for a 1.5 amp, 4 mode (moon,2%,33%,100%) constant current driver. The light originally had a 2.8 amp driver but I was more interested in keeping the lower modes low. The high output is still impressive for only being pushed at 1.5 amps.


This can be done without removing the reflector, which is a pita, by removing and disconnecting the wires from the driver. As you can see additional modules can be added to the driver to bring it up to 3 amps.



Really nice mod! Could you tell me where you purchased the driver from? I'd really like to bore out my Ti EDC SST-50 to 18350 see what 4 or more amps looks like :devil:

Has anyone had Vinh 'turbo' their EDC yet?
 

KDM

Well-known member
Joined
May 31, 2012
Messages
2,010
Location
Tennessee
Really nice mod! Could you tell me where you purchased the driver from? I'd really like to bore out my Ti EDC SST-50 to 18350 see what 4 or more amps looks like :devil:

Has anyone had Vinh 'turbo' their EDC yet?

I purchased it from Mountain electronics the "moonlight special". They offer several different models and filmware.
 

IsaacL

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 15, 2010
Messages
624
Plus one! Great place to find a variety of drivers. The driver in my SOYCD engine came from mountain electronics IIRC.

BLF has a community of people who create their own drivers if you're interested in that sort of thing.
 

KDM

Well-known member
Joined
May 31, 2012
Messages
2,010
Location
Tennessee
Plus one! Great place to find a variety of drivers. The driver in my SOYCD engine came from mountain electronics IIRC.

BLF has a community of people who create their own drivers if you're interested in that sort of thing.

Speaking of that got a Sinners Ti Tri EDC on the way.:devil:
 
Top