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Help replacing driver and emitter for headlamp

  • Daiwamaster Friday, November 22, 2013 3:09 PM Reply
    Hi, a few months ago I bought a Hi-Max XM-L U2 bike light (very similar to the Rustu D66J SKU: 204294 and the driver went south and toasted the emitter too. I got a new headlamp replacement unit for $15 from the seller, but came with a different connector that fit loosely into my battery pack.

    I'm looking to buy a new driver board and emitter to fix the bad unit and then a Y connector that would be 1 female and 2 males so I could use it to replace the female connector on my battery pack and the males connectors on my 2 headlamps, then another Y with 1 male and 2 females to plug in the battery pack and then plug both my headlamps to the same battery pack.

    The only part I'm having trouble figuring out now is regarding the emitter and driver selection. I'm new to this and don't want to have a less than optimal combo.

    Here's what I know so far :

    I want 2 or 3 modes (high-mid-low or high-mid) and if possible no freaking strobe.
    I want at least 2A output and up to 9v input (8.7v pack).
    I'm looking for the new XM-L2 generation, T6 bin or better.
    Soft white, since it's for trail riding (so no cold white or yellowish white).

    Here's what I found that would look decent, but open to any suggestions :

    White XM-L-H 975lm
    XM-L2 U3 Cool White
    XM-L T6 White 910lm
    3 modes and 2A driver

    The XM-L2 U3 looks awesome for price and output, but I'm worried about the heat dissipation and sketchy looking base.
    The XM-L T6 has great reviews, high output and looks solid, but price is higher
    The XM-L-H also has good reviews, high output and solid look, and price seems fair.

    Another though also is the emitter's base size that has to fit my light (I'll be measuring soon) and ease of assembly (not to overheat with the solder gun).

    I really want durability and dependability over a few more lumens in the end.

    Thanks for your help !
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  • ChelseaTom @DX Staff @DX Staff Monday, November 25, 2013 2:07 AM Reply
    Hi @Daiwamaster,
    Please kindly contact our Customer Service here: https://cs.dx.com/ticket/index, we will follow up your issue in the ticket, thank you.
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  • desolder Top 10 Forum Poster Monday, November 25, 2013 2:41 AM Reply
    ChelseaTom, I believe Daiwamaster bought the light from another vendor, so this isn't a complaint about sku.204294.

    White XM-L-H 975lm, sku.51989, is on a traditional 21mm star and appears to be a 1A tint, which is a bit cooler than 6500K (see cree binning PDF).

    XM-L2 U3 Cool White, sku.235034, is on a 16mm star. Will this be too small to fit in your light? Also, the 8300K color temp is very cool white. If you're looking for a neutral white, this is totally not what you want.

    I have no comment on the driver. sku.241101 is a similar driver for cheaper, and contrary to the description, we established it outputs about 2.2A, not 1.5A (see the thread "is it a mistake in the description?"). Another option is sku.166085, which has a shorter switch.

    XM-L T6 White 910lm, sku.54704, is on a 18mm copper star. That's a plus for keeping the LED cool. Just make sure it will fit. Unfortunately there is no tint information in the description

    What's up with the scrubbed LED driver IC markings?
    What are they trying to hide?

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  • Daiwamaster Monday, November 25, 2013 10:44 PM Reply
    @desolder, thanks a lot for the great write-up.

    I first ruled out both the other drivers you suggested due to the 1.5A max output, but the one with 2.2A would be a great choice afterall. Only problem could be the long switch, as the one I have is a shorter one like the second driver you posted, sku.166085, that would be perfect if it wasn't for the low 1.5A drive current. Worst case I assume I could safely cut to lenght the switch button ?

    The XM-L T6 White 910lm, sku.54704, would be great due to the copper base and I think 18mm would fit (still have to check it). Since the emitter is right next on top of the driver, heat dissipation would be a priority to prevent mishapens to the driver (the original driver toasted the emitter by sending 8v straight, still don't know why). I'll also have to buy thermal transfer paste for the assembly.

    It would be awesome if whatever emitter I chose matched the tint of the other headlamp unit I have so it could blend in perfectly on the trails, but since I have no clue what's in the other one, I can only try out my luck. I would call it cool to neutral white, compared to my C3 XR-E P4 (SKU 1993) which is slightly warmer.

    I'm waiting on paypal funds to place my order, so meanwhile I'll keep shopping and learn. Any good recommendation on thermal paste for small jobs ? And btw I have a $10 gift-card code for orders over $50. I don't need it, so feel free to make good use of it if you want.

    Thanks again :)
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  • Daiwamaster Tuesday, November 26, 2013 7:56 PM Reply
    I also found SKU. 199058 which is a XM-L2 U2 at 6000k-6500k with a 20mm aluminum base star and if it fits, would be a great choice I think. Feel free to correct me though.

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  • sheepish Top 10 Forum Poster Wednesday, November 27, 2013 6:00 AM Reply
    Soft white, since it's for trail riding (so no cold white or yellowish white).

    Do you mean neutral white or diffused? (Or both?) I don't buy my LEDs from DX because DX seldom specifies the tint bin, and I strongly prefer neutral white or sometimes warm white (eg, for lanterns). Mind you, if you have enough light it's not so much an issue, so sku.199058 might do quite well.

    I don't know any suitable multi-mode drivers. They all have fast strobe. :(
    Remembering 30 years.
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  • Daiwamaster Thursday, November 28, 2013 9:02 AM Reply
    Thanks Sheepish, I'm gonna take my headlamp apart today and measure the fit for the emitter. By soft white, I meant neutral white, sorry for the confusion. The reflector has a good orange peel texture that smooth the beam pattern and I think the sku 199058 will match what I had before in term of tint.

    Shame that they're still not understanding the useless-ness of the strobe mode on the drivers...

    For thermal paste, what would be good enough for the job ? I'm thinking the plaster-like one would be best.

    SKU: 13915
    SKU: 58299
    SKU: 37514

    Thanks :)

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  • sheepish Top 10 Forum Poster Thursday, November 28, 2013 3:24 PM Reply
    Heatsink plaster/glue is very useful. That one would be my choice.
    Remembering 30 years.
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  • desolder Top 10 Forum Poster Thursday, November 28, 2013 8:01 PM Reply
    Worst case I assume I could safely cut to lenght the switch button ?
    Yes, the tall button can be cut down safely. There's nothing inside it, such as a spring or anything, that would cause it to not operate if it were cut.

    I'll second the heatsink glue/plaster. IIRC, these lights do not have a screwed down star. The star is just held in place by pressure from the reflector, so using glue instead of paste may help prevent the star from moving around, possibly lifting off the pill, and overheating.
    What's up with the scrubbed LED driver IC markings?
    What are they trying to hide?

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  • Daiwamaster Thursday, November 28, 2013 10:16 PM Reply

    I went ahead earlier today and took apart the headlamp, and the current emitter was a 20mm aluminum start like the sku 199058 that I bought, and could take up to a 23mm ø emitter base. The emitter is actually hold in place by a plastic cover over the LED that center the emitter into another plastic cap on the pill and in the reflector. The pill is held firmly down in place by a threaded ring and then the reflector is also pushed down by the lens cap, etc. So the emitter is actually held in place pretty good. After all this, I chose the sku 22509 (Thermal Heat-Sink Compound with Injection Tube - 1.0g (10-Pack)) as I thought it would be good enough with the emitter already held in place from the design and giving me the opportunity to do some testing and play around with the old emitter and driver before getting to the real deal and screwing it all up lol.

    But if you think I would really be better off the plaster paste instead, let me know asap so I can cancel the order before it's shipped (placed today, so won't be out before saturday).

    Thanks for your help guys :)
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