Owner’s Manual SPY 005 STFu MK4 V3.1 Driver (XP-L-Hi, XP-L, XM-L2)

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Flashlight Enthusiast
Feb 18, 2005
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Owner’s Manual SPY 005 STFu MK4 V3.1 Driver (XP-L-Hi, XP-L, XM-L2)


Quick Notes

  • max current 3300mA, latest smooth power driver board design
  • rechargeable battery voltage monitor
  • Large copper heat sink and direct thermal path copper MCPCB for increased lumen output
  • State of the art XM-L2, XP-L and XP-L HI emitter options in your choice of 5000K or 6000K or 4000K color temp
  • Polished titanium head and knob
  • Improved two stage stone wash finish with deeper luster


XP-L-Hi emitter

The 005 was originally introduced back in 2005 and was sold in 2006. It was my first flashlight offering and I am still proud that it set some sales records here on CPF. It was designed and developed in a very open forum atmosphere where I posted almost every development of the design process. The original 005 was made of all aluminum with a chrome plated head and knob. The next batch of 005 lights had a polished titanium head and knob. The 005 has not been produced for a decade now. However, I have decided to bring this light back due to a myriad of requests over the years. Fast forward to 2017 and the 005 is once again in production. This new 005 is 100% Gr5 titanium like the 007. The body and battery cap are stone washed. This makes a durable finish that will stay the same for years of use. The oval o-ring slot on the side of the light is still there but it is rounded and has a very smooth feel in your hand. Compared to the original, this 005 has enormous power and the buttery smooth Teflon switch bearing that was designed for the 007. It feels smooth and light and is only 25% heaver than the original. However, its durability greatly exceeds the original 005 in both structure and electronics.

Table of Contents:
1) Quick start guide
2) Changing batteries
3) How to use the 005
4) Care and cleaning
5) Programming & the back door
6) Attachment rail
7) Lanyard hole
8) Holsters
9) Run time chart
10) Easter Eggs
11) Battery Spring, O-Rings, and Tritium Markers
12) Technical Specifications
13) Problems
14) Warranty

1) Quick start guide
If your light came with batteries installed, you can simply turn it on by twisting the little round knob. Never look directly or let anybody look directly into such a powerful light - it gets very bright and can hurt your eyes. All light shipped after 2016 do not come with batteries due to restrictions on lithium ion battery shipping.

The SPY knob (switch) clicks into 7 discrete locations. They are positions zero through six. Looking at the knob from the front of the light (the LED end), the knob functions like a standard volume control, rotating the knob all the way in the CCW direction till it stops, is the “Off” position (zero position). Rotating the knob CW turns the light “ON”. The off switch setting is referred to as position 0. Switch position 1 is the lowest power setting, position 2 is higher, and so it goes all the way to full power with position 6. There is a stop at Off and a stop at full power, meaning you can not spin the knob all the way around 360 degrees.

If you tried to turn the light on and nothing happened, then it is because the light does not have batteries in it. Please see section 2 on how to change batteries. All SPY flashlights are shipped without batteries installed.

2) Changing batteries
If your light has batteries in it and you push on the tiny battery release pin with the pointy end of a pencil or pen, the battery cap will pop off! Please hold your finger over the cap as you push the pin so it does not go flying.

If your light does not have batteries in it and you push on the tiny battery release pin, the battery cap will DO NOTHING. It will not come off because there are no batteries for the spring to push on. In this case you have to pull it off while pushing on the pin at the same time. Please be careful not to drop the battery cap in this process. It helps to have three hands when doing this. The battery cap goes on smoothly when it is aligned with the two hook pins on the body. It becomes easy to do if you play with it. There is a mark on the body by the lanyard hole to show you how to align the battery cap (if you take the battery cap off the light and rotate it 180 degrees and try to put it back on, it will not fit on). All new SPY lights are now shipped with wooden batteries to make it easy to get the battery cap off.

After you have been using the light for some time, if you notice that power level 6 (high) and power level 5 are at the same brightness then it is time to replace the batteries. The SPY uses CR-123 lithium primary batteries. Cool Fall recommends that you use Surefire batteries in the SPY. Only use two new batteries in the SPY (two bats that have the same voltage level). Never use one old battery and one new battery; never never never. The SPY will operate on rechargeable RCR-123 batteries.

When you are putting the batteries in the light please observe that they have polarity. On the battery that goes behind the LED, please put the “+” end in first. The other battery goes in with the “-” end in first. The battery cap must be pushed straight on. If it gets crooked it will stick and you have to take it off and start again. You can not hurt the light by putting the batteries in the wrong way. When changing batteries use power-up-0; the switch set to the off position by turning the knob fully counter-clockwise when facing the flat top of the knob (see Section 5 for more info).

The SPY005 comes with two small beads which can be put on the lanyard and used to open the battery cap. To install a bead, first remove the lanyard. Then using dental floss, string the bead on the lanyard loop and slide it all the way up till it hits the plastic. Then using the floss again, string the lanyard back into the light. The bead will always be there when you want to pop the battery cap pin. Just place the bead right on top of the release pin and push.

3) How to use the 005
The multiple power levels let you rapidly choose the amount of light you need for any given task. Using a lower light level will prolong the battery life.

We can’t say what is the “best” way to hold the SPY, there are several common ways. Some like the knob down with your fingers wrapping around the light and others like the knob on top. Some use fingers to spin the knob and others use the thumb. In either case it only takes one hand to use a SPY.

Depending how far you want to dig into its features, the SPY is either a straightforward and easy-to-use flashlight or an incredibly flexible and powerful tool. If you want to know all there is to know about a 005 be my guest and keep reading. If you just want the light to simply work as is, you can stop reading here. The SPY is used like any other simple flashlight. Keep a extra set of good batteries around and put them in when it no longer puts out enough light.

Battery consumption
Switch position 5 & 6 will use up batteries quickly. Therefore, if you are on a long trip with only one set of batteries, use the lower power levels as much as possible to conserve battery power. The beauty here is the SPY makes changing power levels, as you use the light, as natural as breathing. This enables the user to almost sub concisely modulate the power as you pan through various scenes. The result is enjoying the mega high power that the SPY is capable of, when you need it, while on average using much less energy from the batteries than a typical flashlight would.

You could select slot 1 or 2 when using primary batteries (Surefire brand) and slot 3 or 4 when using rechargeable batteries (AW IMR). However you can simply put any kind of 123 size battery you want in the factory default slot 1 and not ever change slots. For information on changing slots see power-up-1 in section 5.

4) Care and cleaning
Titanium is a hard metal but not so hard that it can’t be scratched by just about any other metal. If you want your light to stay relatively new looking don’t ever put it in a pocket with any other object especially a hard plastic or metal object. Unlike hard anodized aluminum the machine finish will scratch easily. A simple and effective way to clean a titanium light is to use a wet paper towel with a little dish soap like Dawn. Wipe it softly with the grain of the machining marks. Dry it with a soft cotton cloth like a T-shirt.

5) Programming & the back door
When you put batteries in the SPY and then snap the battery cap on, that will “power-up” the STFu processor on the converter board. We will refer to “powering-up or power up” many times in this tutorial. So to power-up the converter, simply replace the battery cap. Power-up does NOT necessarily imply turning on the LED, it simply powers the internal electronics. What position the switch is in when you power up the light, determines what mode the light will be put into. Normally you should keep the switch in the off position when changing the batteries. In this case the light works normally. This power-up-0 mode is the normal operating mode.

The back door to the light lets you into its various features. Any power-up other than power-up-0 is going into the back door. These features are described below. However, none of these things are required reading, if all you want to do is use the light as is, please skip to the next section in this manual.

So as an example of how to perform a PU-3: Take off the battery cap and set the knob to position 3 (that is three clicks from off) then replace the battery cap. That is it, you just did a PU-3.

For those of you interested in changing the power levels from the factory defaults, you will be learning to use the power-up-4 mode (PU-4). See below. The default factory power levels 1 to 6 are: 5mA, 30mA, 90mA, 240mA, 500mA, 1000mA.

power-up-0 = normal change of batteries
power-up-1 = select configuration slot
power-up-2 = enable and disable lock mode
power-up-3 = factory reset and calibration
power-up-4 = programming levels
power-up-5 = power level report
power-up-6 = battery level indicator

power-up-1 : select configuration slot
You can change the brightness levels in your light to values that are more suited to your tastes or a specific task. Below in the power-up-4 section you will learn how to change the factory settings. The levels set from the factory are practical for everyday use with primary or rechargeable batteries. But, as an example, you want to set the light levels for use when camping or backpacking with low power to make one set of batteries last longer. You can do this and once you get an alternate set of light levels programmed you may want to switch back and forth between them and another programed configuration as your situation changes.

The EEPROM memory in the SPY holds 4 separate configurations of the data needed to run the light. The PU-1 function enables switching between the four storage locations. So you can have a total of four configurations preprogrammed and select the one you want any time you want. Selecting a slot is very easy. The light is set to configuration slot 1 when you get it.

As an example, do a PU-1 and as the light is on steady, quickly move the knob to position 2. You will then see the LED pulse two times letting you know you are in slot 2. Turn the light off. Now if you modify the light brightness levels these changes will stay with slot 2. To put it back to configuration slot 1, do a PU-1 and wait till it flashes one time and then turn it off. That is it. There are slots 1 through 4 available, but slot 3 & 4 are only for rechargeable batteries.

There is now a rechargeable battery voltage monitor when using slots 3 or 4. It watches the battery voltage during normal use and shuts the light off if the voltage reaches 3.25V. It is reset by simply turning the light off and back on again or by replacing the batteries with fully charged batteries. It only monitors the voltage of the batteries if you are using slot 3 or 4. The idea is you select slot 3 or 4 when using rechargeable batteries. The voltage monitor is designed for a rechargeable AW IMR cell technology cutoff of 3.25V, you could use it for any 4.1V~4.2V rechargeable cell. The more current you pull from a battery the lower its voltage droops. Temporarily stop pulling current, and the voltage will recover slightly. As an example, if you are using the light at 1000mA and your nearly discharged batteries reach a low charge level, the light will shut off. If you instantly need more light, simply turn it off and back on to a low knob position and it will still put out light. If you cannot immediately get to another set of batteries you could switch to slot 1 or 2 and keep going till the batteries are completely discharged.

If at any time you forget what is set in one of the configuration slots you can switch to that slot with the PU-1 and then either do a PU-3 and reset it to factory or do a PU-5 and have the light report to you what its settings are.

power-up-2 : enable and disable the lock mode
The purpose of the lock mode is so that you can throw the light in your back pack or pocket and not have to worry if the switch gets knocked to an on position. With the light locked it is safe and can not use the battery.

Before you can use the lock feature you have to enable it. The power-up-2 mode alternatively enables and disables the lock mode, by default from the factory, it is not enabled. It is also not enabled after a CAL (see power-up-3 below).

To enable the lock mode, perform a power-up-2 - you should see the LED flash one time. Then turn the light off. To then later disable the lock mode perform the power-up-2 again; this time you should see the LED strobe very quickly, that depects a zero.

Using the lock mode is simple. Start with the light off. Turn the light on all the way to power level 6 and back off VERY quickly, the light will lock. When locked it will only give a quick flash when turned on and when turned off. To unlock the light just use the same sequence again. It is just that simple. The way to turn the light to full power and off again quickly is to spin the knob on the palm of your hand.

power-up-3 : factory reset & calibration (CAL)
Perform a power-up-3 if:
-you have changed a power level and want to put the light back to its default settings
-your light is acting strangely
-you have modded the light and put in a new LED
-you do not remember what settings are in the slot you are using

When you perform a power-up-3, the LED starts a quick up and down sweeping for 10 seconds. This is just to let you know that it is about to run the CAL. After 10 seconds, it turns the LED on at about 100mA and starts getting dimmer. It will dim all the way down to the level 1’s 2mA and then start raising the LED’s output. It slowly records information as it converges on each power level. Once it gets to power level 6 it will start the quick up and down sweeping again for 5 seconds and then shut off.

When the CAL slowly sweeps through the power levels it records the Vf data and rates for your emitter. This calibration takes a couple minutes and requires new or strong batteries ( batteries that can run the light to the full 1000mA of power ). During a calibration the light does not read the switch position. So if you want to stop it you will have to pull the battery cap off. If you stop a calibration you can not use the light till you run another CAL (PU3).

power-up-4 : programming
see Light Engine Programming

power-up-5 : power level report

this is a Tri-V video but still shows feature

power-up-6 : battery level indicator
This meter reads the average voltage of the two batteries. It flashes out three significant digits. So if the voltage is 3.14V It will flash three times then pause then flash one time then pause then flash four times. If one of the digits is a zero, it flashes a short strobe burst for that digit.

****** ****** ****** ****** ****** ****** ****** ****** ****** ****** ****** ****** ****** ****** ****** ******

Light Engine Programming with Power-Up-4 (PU4)
If you choose to program the 005 you will need to read the following text and view the videos. Of course it is not necessary to ever change the light levels if you are happy with the default factory configuration. But having said that I know some of you will want to play. This really is the point of the 005, it will morph into the light you need, not the one I think you need.

The 005 can be programmed to output very bright light or light so dim you can not tell it is even on or any level in between. An LED is controlled by how much current the driver (STFu) sends to the emitter. Current is measured in milliamps [mA]. That is one thousandths of an amp [A] (1000mA is equal to 1A). In the SPY 5mA is a low light output, 100mA yields a normal useful light level for indoors and 1000mA is the high output that the light comes programmed when you get it.

When you make changes to the settings on the 005, there is a progression that you will follow. There are flashes from the LED to let you know you are moving through the stage. First you choose the knob position you want to modify, then you select the power level you want.

The power-up-4, abbreviated as “PU4”, lets you select the current [power level] the emitters will run at.

As you enter PU4 the emitter will flash, it will do this for 10 seconds and it is your cue to set the knob position. As the LED is flashing the computer is not looking at the switch so it does not matter what positions you move the knob through. It only matters what position the knob is in when at the end of the 10 seconds when the LED stops flashing (or is fast flashing if you picked P1).

These are the programming steps for setting emitters and power levels:
1. power-up-4
2. while light is flashing, select knob position to modify
3. set the knob to home position P1 (the emitter will be fast flashing to let you know you are there)
4. key in the sequence to set the power level (see definitions below)
5. set knob to the off position P0
6. light will flash for 10 seconds and end (before the light stops flashing you can go back to step 2)
7. if you chose P0, the light will perform a calibration for the settings you modified (this takes several seconds)
8. the light is now ready for use

Knob/Switch position definitions to key in power levels:
• knob position 0 = off
• knob position 1 = home (emitter is fast flashing)
• knob position 2 = add 1mA to total
• knob position 3 = add 10mA to total
• knob position 4 = add 100mA to total
• knob position 5 = add 1000mA to total
• knob position 6 = start dimming to values less than 5mA


If you want to set the power to less than 5mA you MUST use the knob position 6 to do it (keying in less than 5mA will not work). When you are done with step 3 above, turn the knob directly to position 6 and just leave it there (you do not click it back and forth as you do with the lower positions). Simply stay on position 6 and watch as it sets the power to 5mA and then starts getting dimmer and dimmer. It takes a while but when the light output is what you want, turn the knob off.

These are the programming steps for setting a low level below 5mA:
1. power-up-4
2. while light is flashing, select knob position to modify, probably P1
3. set the knob to home position P1 (the emitter will be fast flashing to let you know you are there)
4. go to P6
5. set knob to the off position P0
6. light will flash for 10 seconds and end, the light is now ready for use

Or in shorthand:
quickly to P1
wait till light level is what you want

You can set multiple switch positions with a single power-up-4 by continually selecting various non zero switch positions before the flashing stops.

Q: What would happen if you did the (PU4) but then quickly turned to P0. A: If you did this nothing would be changed in the light’s configuration.

Before you start programming, plan out in your head what you want to accomplish. The 005 programming method does not show you what you get till after it is done. You put in mA values and it cals those targets. So it may be a good idea to record on paper what you want to do in advance of actually doing the programming.

In the code stored in the 005 it has tables of various values. The first table lists what the default current will be if you do a factory calibration (Power Up 3). The second table will list the programming limits for each emitter (as an example you can only push the XP-G to 1500 mA).

Default factory calibration values: These default power levels are kid friendly and battery friendly.
• knob position 1: @ 5mA
• knob position 2: @ 30mA
• knob position 3: @ 90mA
• knob position 4: @ 240mA
• knob position 5: @ 500mA
• knob position 6: @ 1000mA

Programming Limit:
• 3300mA for XM-L2

Duty cycle limit is 1000mA. This is the upper limit for running at 100% duty cycle. Any programmed value beyond this limit will only run for 45 seconds before it is slowly automatically pulled back to 1000mA.

Once the emitter is pulled back to this limit it will be held there till you turn the light off. This gets a little detailed and I will try to explain as best I can. Consider this scenario. You program the light to run at 1400mA and turn it on. It will run at 1400 for 30 seconds then it will slowly cut back over the next 15 seconds to 1000mA and stay there till you switch to another position or turn the light off. If you do switch to another position but do not turn the light off, it will instantly go to its programmed setting but will start instantly cutting back to its 100%DCL. If you quickly turn the light off and back to the spot, the entire sequence will start over. So understand if you turn the light off it has no memory to tell it that it may already be hot! Beware of this and react accordingly. Yes the light has it's own over heating cutback protection but I would not want to push this.

The fundamental issue is to manage all this extreme heating in this insanely small thermal mass. Those power users of you out there that want to crank the light beyond the factory configuration, please do so, but keep the light in your hand and learn how quick it heats up on various settings and on the various emitters. And react accordingly.

IMR batteries example:
If you have gotten the red IMR cells and have fully charged them then this is an example of how to set position 6 to the 3300mA value.

quickly go to P6

wait till pulsing stops
P1 (observe quick strobe)





wait till pulsing stops, light cals level 6 to 3300 and then light shuts off

After programming the light, make sure you got the setting you are trying for by checking it with a PU5

Remember to use this level of power cautiously. It will heat up fast. Never give the light to anyone else while it is set at this high-level unless you are sure they know what they're dealing with.

It is your responsibility to make sure the light does not get too hot. Only use new matched pair batteries. Keep the matched pairs labeled and never use them in another flashlight individually.

When you did one extra P5 P4 cycle that is actually keying in 4000mA. However that will only set the level to 3300mA, that is because anything over the maximum of 3300 is restricted.

programming example videos:

FYI, Red AW IMR batteries are required for this power level because of the current requirements. Also, please set the light to slot 3 or 4 prior to this programming if you want to take advantage of the automatic power shut off for when rechargeable batteries reach their minimum voltage.

6) Attachment rail

7) Lanyard hole
The concept is for this lanyard to aid in handling the light when it is in your hand. While holding the light and the strap at the same time you reduce the likelihood of dropping it. If you carry the light in a pocket the lanyard will last for at least a year then it may need to be replaced. If it does not look frayed, it is still very strong. When it starts to fray, replace it.

To put the lanyard on the SPY, you need 18” (40cm) dental floss. Put the floss through the hole in the light and then through the loop on the lanyard and then back through the hole in the light. Grab both ends of the floss in one hand and the big end of the lanyard in the other hand. Pull tight so that the lanyard loop pulls into a tight point. With the lanyard loop like this it will slide through the hole in the light with almost no effort. Make sure the lanyard loop is aligned properly to fit through the rectangular hole in the light; it only goes in one way. If you get it right it will not hurt the small loop end on the lanyard at all. To finish, thread the big end of the lanyard through the small end.

The supplied lanyard was intended to be minimalistic in your hand and your pocket. Besides the stock lanyard that is included with the SPY 005, there are many other options available, including buying pre-made lanyards from online stores or CandlePowerForums builders, or making your own.

If you want to tether the light around your neck, you are going to have to use a split ring. My recommendation is to use a small split ring and then put the para-cord right through the split ring.


8) Holsters
If you are going to use a holster make sure it is fixed to your belt in a way that it can not come off. Tether the light to your belt if need be.

The following are some options for holsters:
-RipOff's Holsters : www.ripoffs.com - The CO-192 or BL-192 for Belt loop is a perfect fit.

9) Run time chart
CandlePowerForums member chevrofreak’s runtime plots for the SPY 005 (Luxeon III LED).



10) Easter Eggs

11) Battery Spring, O-Rings, and Tritium Markers
Battery Spring
To replace the battery spring if it falls out, put the bottom half (end closest to the release pin opening) in first by twisting the spring in a counter-clockwise direction.


O-ring sizes:
Tail cap and the side of light - Size 020, 1” English Size

There are two slots where tritium markers can be epoxied in the 005. The size of the markers should be 5mm x 1.5mm. Use a strong epoxy to glue the vials in - the most-used is Norland Optical Adhesive No.61, available from Edmund Optics, and occasionally available in smaller portions on CandlePowerForums. It’s totally clear, very durable, and extremely strong. Another method used is nail polish - nail polish remover a.k.a. pure acetone will dissolve the nail polish and it will wipe right out, if there is anything left. Or, simply use superglue. Whatever the case, be cautious with tritium and take any measure you can in making it securely adhered to the SPY 005.

12) Technical Specifications
Material: 6Al-4V Titanium
Weight: 133g w/ batteries
Dimensions: Approx. 3.03” by 1.525” by 0.9”
Batteries: Primary (3v) CR123A Lithiums 16340 size cells, rechargeable Lithium-Ion (3.0-4.2v) RCR123 like red AW IMR cells (550mAh)
LED: Cree XP-L-Hi, XP-L, XM-L2
Power: 3.3A maximum to the emitter for up to 60 seconds
Emitter Light output max: 1200 lm
Reflector: McR-18
Case: water resistant, do not submerge

13) Problems
First and foremost, if your light acts up you need to replace the batteries with two brand new primary lithium batteries - preferably Surefire. Secondly, execute the CAL sequence (see power-up-3 in the programming section). Even if you did not think you changed the power levels (it can happen by accident). Thirdly, make sure there is no moisture inside the light. To do this open the light and set it in a warm place for 12 hours. A good place is on top of your computer monitor. If these steps do not remedy the problem please contact Cool Fall Inc.

14) Warranty
The 005 will have a lifetime warranty to the original purchaser of the light. There are a few exceptions due to abuse and leaking batteries. My intention is for the purchaser to enjoy the 005 and appreciate what went into its creation. If you like it, don’t hesitate to EDC it, as the SPY is engineered to last.
The 005 is designed to live through current LED technology and be upgradeable to newer emitters . Cool Fall does not offer upgrade services but a few of the CPF modders do. Please be advised that modding the light voids its warranty.

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