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Thread: McLuxIII-PD Upgrade

  1. #1
    Flashaholic Geogecko's Avatar
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    Default McLuxIII-PD Upgrade

    Hi, all, been a long time since I've been around here, and found my old PD the other day, circa 2005. It's been a really good light, it has signs of wear, which means it got a lot of use back in those days. I was actually looking for a new light a few days ago while on here, when I ran across it. I thought, you know, this really still has a great design, small and compact, and functions really well, has two levels, which to be honest, is all most people need.

    So, in my research, I was delighted to find the Wiz2x2 driver that was used in mine, is compatible with RCR123a's (which is what I'm wanting to use, since primary's are so expensive). So, really all I need to be back up and running, is a few RCR123a's and a charger.

    This got me to wondering though, as I did several years ago, if the PD could be upgraded somehow. It currently has a LuxeonIII TYOJ emitter in it. If memory serves me, the driver is setup to provide CC 30mA on low, and ~530mA on high. Is there anything easy that could be done to upgrade the emitter (get a little more output, maybe slightly warmer color), without upgrading the entire light? Like could I get away with just the emitter, maybe a reflector change?

    If so, is this something I could DIY (I have experience soldering and what not), or would this be a service Don provides?

    Thanks for reading!

    Jason

  2. #2

    Default Re: McLuxIII-PD Upgrade

    Why don't you read the thread "Using the XPE-2 in a McGizmo creation -- even in the Ti PD-S !?" in this forum (currently, below your thread but still in first page)?

    I would be interested in your thoughts, maybe they are similar to mine

  3. #3
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    Default Re: McLuxIII-PD Upgrade

    You'll need a Cree XP-G on an 8mm carrier board, and a McR20-S reflector to replace the McR20-L reflector your light currently has. Alternately, someone like DatiLED ought to be able to do the work for you.

  4. #4
    Flashaholic Geogecko's Avatar
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    Default Re: McLuxIII-PD Upgrade

    I did see that, flashy. I actually have no idea on the LED right now. I've been so far behind LEDs lately, the last ones I really knew anything about, were Luxeon Stars! It's been a few years. Slowly trying to catch up.

    Did you see this thread? Holy crap, this would be amazing, and to be honest, it would be a useful light for me, because I typically only use a bright light like that, for a few seconds at most. That would make a great EDC.

    http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...t=brightest+pd

    Where do you get carrier boards for LED's? Thanks for the suggestion, fyrstormer.

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    Default Re: McLuxIII-PD Upgrade

    The modded Ti-PD in that thread no longer has a proper Piston Drive interface; the piston acts as a single-mode momentary switch, similar to the tactical switches for Surefire lights, and the brightness setting is changed by "blinking" the light. So it's not an ideal setup if you really like the PD interface.

    For the record, those old LEDs weren't called Luxeon Stars, they were just called Luxeons. "Star" is the nickname for the six-pointed metal-core circuit board some LEDs are mounted to.

    I believe Illumination Supply sells 8mm carrier boards for XP-G and XM-L emitters. You have to do the soldering yourself, though; to do the soldering, you'll need a syringe of solder paste, a pair of needle-nose pliers, and a hot-air soldering workstation or an electric stove. (you stick the emitter and the carrier board together with the solder paste, then heat the carrier board to melt the solder paste.)
    Last edited by fyrstormer; 03-14-2013 at 02:07 PM.

  6. #6
    Flashaholic Geogecko's Avatar
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    Default McLuxIII-PD Upgrade

    Oh, that kinda stinks. I was trying to figure out the interface, but was having a hard time with the description. I like the PD interface. It's the best of both worlds clicky and twisty. Maybe I'll look at the Tri EDC as an addition to add to the rotation.

    So what is the reflow point of the solder paste? Is that something you'd want to do in your cooking oven, or just get maybe a hot plate?

    Yes, I remember the stars, sorry, shouldn't have referred to them as an LED, but an assembly. I was actually going to use those in a DIY light, because they were easy to heat sink to a block of metal with some screws and maybe thermal paste...but obviously those are obsolete.

    Of all the days to leave my PD at home, our office building's lighting system went down today. The backup generator provided emergency lights, but none in the bathrooms. Pitch black...

  7. #7

    Default Re: McLuxIII-PD Upgrade

    Quote Originally Posted by Geogecko View Post
    I did see that, flashy. I actually have no idea on the LED right now. I've been so far behind LEDs lately, the last ones I really knew anything about, were Luxeon Stars! It's been a few years. Slowly trying to catch up.

    Did you see this thread? Holy crap, this would be amazing, and to be honest, it would be a useful light for me, because I typically only use a bright light like that, for a few seconds at most. That would make a great EDC.

    http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...t=brightest+pd

    Where do you get carrier boards for LED's? Thanks for the suggestion, fyrstormer.

    OK, I see better now where you are coming from. My idea was simply to get a newer LED, leaving almost everything else practically unchanged. This means, an EDC with decent runtime and very useful levels for most normal circumstances.

    The route you are thinking -- triple-LED's and max blast -- has its attractions, but not I think in an EDC format, since the runtime will be terrible.

    I have a triple-LED in a max blast format as a P60 compatible drop-in from Oveready, which I use in a 2xLi-Ion package (2x18500 to be exact) which gives me the 1,100 lumens (newer drop-ins have raised this level even more) for 75 minute runtime, which is quite useful.

    So I don't see myself modding the Ti PD-S in this direction, though I agree the datiLED creation looks fantastic!

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    Default Re: McLuxIII-PD Upgrade

    Quote Originally Posted by Geogecko View Post
    Oh, that kinda stinks. I was trying to figure out the interface, but was having a hard time with the description. I like the PD interface. It's the best of both worlds clicky and twisty. Maybe I'll look at the Tri EDC as an addition to add to the rotation.
    The Tri-EDC is a nice light. I have one with a copper shell.

    Quote Originally Posted by Geogecko View Post
    So what is the reflow point of the solder paste? Is that something you'd want to do in your cooking oven, or just get maybe a hot plate?
    I don't know the exact temperature necessary to melt the solder paste, but I was able to melt it by setting the LED+MCPCB on the outermost coil of one of my electric stove burners. I used a pair of ship-in-a-bottle pliers to hold the MCPCB securely without having to get my hand too close to the burner.

    Quote Originally Posted by Geogecko View Post
    Yes, I remember the stars, sorry, shouldn't have referred to them as an LED, but an assembly. I was actually going to use those in a DIY light, because they were easy to heat sink to a block of metal with some screws and maybe thermal paste...but obviously those are obsolete.
    Not entirely obsolete, actually. The six-pointed-star boards are still available for the popular LED models, but in the interest of making your PD mod as easy as possible, the 8mm round boards are best because they adapt the size of the new LED to fit the footprint of the old LED.

    Quote Originally Posted by Geogecko View Post
    Of all the days to leave my PD at home, our office building's lighting system went down today. The backup generator provided emergency lights, but none in the bathrooms. Pitch black...
    Ain't that always the way...

  9. #9
    Flashaholic Geogecko's Avatar
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    Default McLuxIII-PD Upgrade

    Thanks for the tips. So, what is used to put the MCPCB down onto the head? A thermal epoxy, paste?

    And did you heat the head to scrape the old off?

    Do the XP-G LEDs come in different tints? Looking for something a little warmer than my TYOJ that is currently in my PD. Maybe closer to how warm my U2 Ultra is. Guessing somewhere around 4-5k?

  10. #10
    Flashaholic Geogecko's Avatar
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    Default McLuxIII-PD Upgrade

    Dang, I have a gas stove, lol...

  11. #11
    Flashaholic Geogecko's Avatar
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    Default McLuxIII-PD Upgrade

    As far as LEDs, Illumination Supply only carries an XP-G 90+ High CRI at 3000K, or an XP-G2 in 5000K that are bare LEDs. Are the G2's dimensions the same as the original?

    Also, guess I would have to get the reflector from the Sandwich Shoppe, right?

  12. #12
    Flashaholic Geogecko's Avatar
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    Default Re: McLuxIII-PD Upgrade

    Would I need to shim the LED at all to get the proper focus with the new reflector? Also, is the thermal epoxy the way to attach it, or should I go with maybe a thermal pad?

  13. #13
    Flashaholic* ShineOnYouCrazyDiamond's Avatar
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    Default Re: McLuxIII-PD Upgrade

    What fyrstormer said is pretty dead on. You can also get a 8mm board from the Sandwich Shoppe along with the McR20S reflector required. I have found, though, that adding a copper slug (also available from the Shoppe) between the mPCB and the heat sink raises the XP-G2 (of course you will use the latest, right? ) up into a perfect focus point.

  14. #14

    Default Re: McLuxIII-PD Upgrade

    XM-L2

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    Default Re: McLuxIII-PD Upgrade

    Quote Originally Posted by Geogecko View Post
    Would I need to shim the LED at all to get the proper focus with the new reflector? Also, is the thermal epoxy the way to attach it, or should I go with maybe a thermal pad?
    Quote Originally Posted by ShineOnYouCrazyDiamond View Post
    What fyrstormer said is pretty dead on. You can also get a 8mm board from the Sandwich Shoppe along with the McR20S reflector required. I have found, though, that adding a copper slug (also available from the Shoppe) between the mPCB and the heat sink raises the XP-G2 (of course you will use the latest, right? ) up into a perfect focus point.
    What SOYCD said is spot on. However, you will need to file the top and bottom edge of the 8mm board (opposite of where the leads attach) to give yourself some wiggle room when centering the LED.

    Use 600 grit wet/dry sandpaper to polish the copper shim and bottom of the LED board (prior to soldering the LED). When the LED is mounted on the board, use thermal epoxy to seat the copper shim and LED board in the seat. Quickly install the reflector, o-ring, window and bezel. Tighten the bezel down to seat everything properly. Remove the bezel and window, and use a pair of tweezers or other tool to center the LED in the reflector. Rotate the head and look at the LED centering from many different positions to be sure that it looks centered. Allow the thermal epoxy to fully cure with the reflector in place. Remove the o-ring and reflector and solder the leads to the board (observing the polarity). If you pretin the pads before installation, this will be much easier. Tin the ends of the lead wires, and use a pair of flat jaw pliers to flatten the wire ends. This will provide a smooth, flat solder joint that will avoid a short circuit with the reflector. Use solder flux for a smooth joint.

    FWIW, you do not need to replace the reflector. You can use a fine file to remove 0.030" from the LED end of the reflector. Hold the reflector parallel to the file, resting the file on a flat surface. Make 3 - 5 passes over the file, and rotate the reflector 90 degrees. Do this until you have removed enough material. Use a chop stick or dowel to remove the burrs of metal that form at the opening, being very careful not to touch the inside of the reflector. (Use a circular scraping motion, pushing the tool from opening to LED end. The wood does a great job of catching the burrs, and folding them out of the reflector opening.) Give one more light pass on the file, or over some wet/dry sandpaper to clean up any small burrs hanging at the opening. Plug the LED end with your finger (from the back), and fill the reflector with Dawn, or other dish soap that doesn't contain lotion, or skin softeners. Run scalding hot water in the sink, and allow the strong stream of hot water to rinse any dust that collected in the reflector. Quickly dry the outside of the reflector with a paper towel, not touching the inside. Use compressed air to blow any water droplets from the inside of the reflector. Do not leave even a single drop! It will dry to a water spot.

    You are now ready for final assembly. Be sure to clean the LED and solder joints with an alcohol saturated Q-tip before closing the head. Flux residue is really ugly. Test the leads for continuity before connecting them to the converter board. Be sure to test your light before installing the reflector, o-ring, window and bezel. Enjoy the bright.
    I am currently accepting limited mod requests. Please send me a PM!

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    Flashaholic* BenChiew's Avatar
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    Default McLuxIII-PD Upgrade

    Wow Derek. You must really know what you are doing right?
    If I have one to do, it is surely going to you.

  17. #17
    Flashaholic* ShineOnYouCrazyDiamond's Avatar
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    Default Re: McLuxIII-PD Upgrade

    Derek does know what he is talking about and is definitely a skilled modder and machiner. We do disagree a little bit here on the proper reflector to use for XP-G and XP-G2 LEDs in the PD lights. I've tried to use the stock reflector from the ones with the Lux LEDs and even with trimming I am not fully pleased with the beam shape of the McR20. I find the McR20S version to be a direct drop-in and give a focus with a nice spot blending into a very useful corona.

    I know this is a very subjective topic so I don't want to start any form of a flame war.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: McLuxIII-PD Upgrade

    SOYCD, We do agree on the fact that the McR20S is a direct drop in reflector for use with the XP-G, or XM-L LEDs and produces a quality beam. I was just pointing out that the stock reflector can be used with good results, IMO. (The stock McR20 reflector can also be used unmodified.) While the McR20S is my preferred reflector for use with the XP-G, or XM-L LEDs, reusing the stock McR20 will save the owner $22.57 (the cost of an McR20S, with shipping).

    We won't be doing any flaming here.
    I am currently accepting limited mod requests. Please send me a PM!

  19. #19
    Flashaholic Geogecko's Avatar
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    Default McLuxIII-PD Upgrade

    No worries, guys. I like the discussion, and I'm learning a lot. Way more than I would have ever thought about doing this mod myself. I felt like the mod was really worth it for this light, but did not want to practice on it myself, so decided to let someone that offered to do it for me, work on it.

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    Default Re: McLuxIII-PD Upgrade

    There are three versions of the McR20: The Seoul version, the Luxeon version, and the Luxeon Joker version. The Seoul and Luxeon versions supposedly have the same focal point, but I agree with SOYCD that there's something imperceptibly not-quite-right about the beam pattern of the Luxeon version when used with anything besides a Luxeon emitter. The Luxeon Joker version, on the other hand, has a different focal point by design and probably won't work with any other emitter -- though you could always try one anyway, just for kicks.

  21. #21

    Default Re: McLuxIII-PD Upgrade

    Never mind, I found the answer. Thanks.
    Last edited by octaf; 04-10-2013 at 03:17 AM. Reason: update
    light your lite . ...

  22. #22
    Flashaholic* ShineOnYouCrazyDiamond's Avatar
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    Default Re: McLuxIII-PD Upgrade

    I hope Jason doesn't mind, but I've been working on modding the Slate PD discussed in the OP. The original LED was swapped with a XP-G2 R4-5C and the reflector switched to a McR20S. The beam profile is as shown below - the picture is not representative of brightness as I just put the camera on auto exposure and it underexposed it and left it dark, but it give a good reference to the beam shape.




  23. #23
    Flashaholic Geogecko's Avatar
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    Default McLuxIII-PD Upgrade

    Not at all, Sean! Looking really good. Can't wait for the trit to come in and see how she looks. Been missing it, even though I've been using my backup, a Fenix P3D, but it's just not the same.

    Appreciate the offer to work on this classic. It is going to be awesome having this a more up to date light.

  24. #24
    Flashaholic Geogecko's Avatar
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    Default McLuxIII-PD Upgrade

    I received my PD back from Sean today! Had to wait on the trit that he was installing for me on the piston, so it took a while.

    I am extremely pleased with the mod. I can't believe the quality of light from the XP-G2 emitter. Even at 500ma, this thing puts the original LED to shame, but especially color. Color temp is fantastic, and just what I wanted. The light has a nice hot spot, with an amazing amount of side spill. I was surprised that the PD now out performs the Fenix P3D that I've been using for a few weeks now while the mod was being done.

    I am considering a driver high level modification to either 750ma or 1000ma, but am going to give it some time at 500ma to see if I want to even change it.

    Thanks for all the help and advice, and mostly to Sean for offering to upgrade this great light.


  25. #25
    Flashaholic* ShineOnYouCrazyDiamond's Avatar
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    Default Re: McLuxIII-PD Upgrade

    Nice pictures Jason. Glad you like the updates.
    Looks great with the new blue O-ring in there.

  26. #26
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    Default Re: McLuxIII-PD Upgrade

    Congratulations, Geogecko

    Nice job, SOYCD!

  27. #27
    Flashaholic Geogecko's Avatar
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    Default Re: McLuxIII-PD Upgrade

    Yes, I'm really impressed with the results. I hadn't been carrying this light for a while, so it was nice to breathe some new life into the classic design. Still hard to believe how nice that beam looks...

  28. #28

    Default Re: McLuxIII-PD Upgrade

    Geogecko, is that a titanium chain? where can I buy this?
    ISO --> any vintage, cross-hair logo Surefire; Ku's SWM V-series 18500 tubes; PM me if you have a SPY007 XM-L2 SWGG for trade!


  29. #29
    Flashaholic Geogecko's Avatar
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    Default McLuxIII-PD Upgrade

    Not titanium, unfortunately. I wasn't happy with the look of most Ti box chains, so decided to go with this sterling silver one from Jame's Avery. If you get one like this (its their largest box chain), have them put on their bigger lobster clasp, the one that comes with it is rather small. They also did it for free.

    This was the best site I could find that had Ti chains, but I haven't ordered from them before. They seem to get good reviews. Although smallest box chain is 4mm.

    http://www.titaniumkay.com/Chains-100408.html

  30. #30
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    Default Re: McLuxIII-PD Upgrade

    Your updated PD looks great with the new emitter and the blue O-ring. I replaced my O-rings with brown ones, because it reminded me of the color of leather and added a bit of "class" to the appearance, I thought, but they're also titanium so the overall finish is brighter than the anodized PDs in the first place.

    Now I want to put an XP-G2 in my Ti-PD-S. Do you see what you've done? I hope you're proud of yourself.

    Also, I'm not a big fan of religious symbols, but that tritium-powered cross looks great.

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