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  1. #1
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    UPGRADE: TrustFire TR-D014 7xCree XM-L2 T6 4-Mode 3000LM Bicycle Light

    UPGRADE: TrustFire TR-D014 7xCree XM-L2 T6 4-Mode 3000LM Bicycle Light

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    Okay a few reviews and thoughts by others have already been posted on this light but I was interested in MK96’s view that the light had upgrade potential because it was under-driven.

    So I bought not one but three. One to mess around with/get it wrong/mess up/throw away: One to leave as standard: One to upgrade.

    The upgrade was with much thanks for his help “George at Task LED” and MK96 for his help as well.

    I have picked this light apart and although initially, I upgraded the wiring, in the final version, I left it the same because the cable used was able to handle the amps without over-heating or give cause for concern. I tried my best to make sure the new board was as connected to the chassis as possible for the best heat transfer.

    The standard light on high, gets warm when stationary but the upgrade gets HOT. Out on the road, the upgrade is fine as long as there is a passing wind. Photos were done down by the river and it was cold so the unit stayed cool.

    I fitted a HBFlex board so as I could drive the lamp at the full 3amps and made up some fresh 16.8v batteries. Light ran for 30mins with no issues.. it was cold so I came back home.

    The following four images were all taken at F4 @ 6secs.. and yes the images could have been better but I just wanted to see just what 7x XML-2 T6’s at full chat would be like.. I will leave you to make up your own mind. Both lights were set up, one on top of the other on the front of my bike which was supported by a bench. The camera is about 2ft to the left of the bike and that reflective strip on the tree ahead is 100ft (30m) away.

    Image 1: Control shot, everything is off - F4@6secs..
    UPGRADE: TrustFire TR-D014 7xCree XM-L2 T6 4-Mode 3000LM Bicycle Light-pa220001.jpg

    Image 2: Standard light at low – 8.4v @ whatever amp setting it comes at.
    UPGRADE: TrustFire TR-D014 7xCree XM-L2 T6 4-Mode 3000LM Bicycle Light-pa220002.jpg

    Image 3: Standard light at high - 8.4v @ whatever amp setting it comes at.
    UPGRADE: TrustFire TR-D014 7xCree XM-L2 T6 4-Mode 3000LM Bicycle Light-pa220007.jpg

    Image 4: Upgrade light at high – 16.8v @ 3amp per LED.
    UPGRADE: TrustFire TR-D014 7xCree XM-L2 T6 4-Mode 3000LM Bicycle Light-pa2200a08.jpg

    With the new board, the flexibility to set things how you want is great as the standard board offers no user configurations.
    Last edited by EFMax; 02-28-2015 at 08:51 AM.

  2. #2
    Drinkin' the 29er KoolAid
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    I'd be curious to see the internals of that light and in particular how the driver compartment looks. Were you able to install the HBFlex on a large flat surface with some coupling to the LEDs so that you can use the thermal throttling of the driver to monitor both the driver and the LEDs?

  3. #3
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    What I have done as a temp arrangement is to get an oversize thermal pad and cut it down to fit. The HBFlex board is almost a good fit but not perfect but with the thermal pad in place, the board sits on this and it is now nicely coupled to the surrounding chassis and is quite tight.. The board is about 39mm across and the ring it sits on is about 43mm.. It is a tight fit allround and I have had to change the on/off switch so that takes up a bit of space.

    From a hand touch, I can see that the leds are sending their heat to the front of the chassis. The rear end where the board is appears only slightly warm, not sure if the way I have done things is the best way as this is my first attempt at picking lights apart and putting them back like this but I feel more rest assured when I have done say an hour's riding at full throttle.

    To be honest, I feel that I will be more than happy to drive the leds at 2amps or even 2.5amps. I will also source some even better batteries so as I can get a decent and reliable run time of around 2.5-3 hours.

  4. #4
    Drinkin' the 29er KoolAid
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    Hmmm... having a hard time picturing that, but if I understand correctly you've created a larger thermal pad (metal disc?) that the HBFlex is mounted to and then press fit that into the driver compartment? Sounds like a pretty good approach if that's what you've done.

    You've likely read that the HBFlex needs to have good thermal contact in particular areas on the underside of the board to ensure certain components have proper heat sinking... that would be the primary concern for the longevity of the driver.

    It is a really good idea to enable the thermal protection feature if you haven't done so, especially in a light driven reasonably hard like you are doing. I generally set my flex drivers to 70°C to start with and if you find it tripping very quickly this can be a warning that the driver is not getting enough heat sinking. I would expect a light like that to trip the protection if you are stationary for a long time... that's OK on a bike light since you are normally moving and its better to have the light throttle down than overheat.
    Last edited by kwarwick; 10-22-2014 at 07:08 PM. Reason: Clarified question on thermal pad

  5. #5
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    The original driver sat nice and snug on the chassis. Below it was the wires leading to the leds and the power input. That gap is about 50mm, so there is a lot of space but not much space above.

    What I have done is cut a thin disk (from a empty can of baked beans) the same size as the original driver, got a thermal pad cut to the same size.. made it possible for the wires to still get to where they need, and then press-fit the driver unto this disk and the disk to the chassis.

    The phots just show the bike in one place, so I came back and made the light more secure by swap the units around and the respective batteries and went out a few hours later for a proper ride.

    My conclusions are - if one XML-2 T6 is able to put out approx 1125L @ 100% then if I calculate for 10% losses then that is around 1000L per led @ 3amp input - so 7x 1000 is just too much and it puts a massive strain on the batteries trying to keep them above 13v for any great length of time so I am guessing that driven at 2amps will be more than serious fun.

    At full power they are just too much. To be fair, with the driver set in Multimode, L1 & L2 are pretty awesome so I may reconfigure it to get a more useable spread of light between the L1-L5 settings.

    This light is now officially much brighter than my Trail Tech 30w HID and that was crazy bright.

  6. #6
    Drinkin' the 29er KoolAid
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    Battery sag can definitely be a challenge with lights consuming that much power, especially if you are using typical 18650 batteries. I moved to using 4S Li-Po packs that can easily put out 50-100A! This made a huge difference in reducing the battery sag and improving run time. Bumping up the wire thickness between the battery and driver also helps minimize voltage drop allowing the driver to better sense battery voltage and not prematurely trigger low battery warnings.

  7. #7
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    Yes, time to look for a new battery setup and your move sounds like a good move.. cable wise, all upgrade and can easily handle a 100w source so my setup is around the 75ish watt mark I think. Thanks for your feedback.

  8. #8
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    You are the man I like this kind of full throttle mods. BTW go Li-Po/Lifepo for sure. It is the best power source you can get.

  9. #9
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    Took the advice and got myself a decent set of 5500mAh 14.8v batteries and a smaller back up pack as well. I already had a decent SKY RC Charger so tonight is gonna be fun.. only thing that p's me off is that I lost my Garmin GPSunit doing the phots last night and that is a bummer.. I took it off to measure the distance to the tree and I think I left it on the bench in the dark.. it wasn't there this morning.

  10. #10
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    Okay after my first full charge on the new batteries, I got some Li-Po 5500mAh 14.8v setup.. I found the light runs best (for me) in multimode, driven at 3A and at the four setting (not sure how it is calculated - ie, what rate it is being driven at) - the light ran fine for 3hrs(fan assisted indoors) before I got bored and went shopping.

    For me, level two makes for some very easy off-road riding at a pace. Level three is a luxury and level four is just not needed so level five is just a waste of power.

    I have the light set with a 70*c temp cut off, 13.1v mid voltage check and 12.6v low voltage check with a 12.1v cut-off.

    I am pleased.

  11. #11
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    Nice work!

    I've got a HBFlex itching to be put to good use at some point, but I just haven't found the right host. Ideally a 7up or perhaps 8up XML-2 light of some sort, but I don't like cool white tints and the crappy batteries that most of these complete lights come with so really I just want a housing that is DIY friendly. Something along the lines of the 36mm Easy2LED housing but needs to be 40mm or bigger: M36 LED housing kit - $25.00 : Easy2LED.com, The store for LED DIY

  12. #12
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    I like that housing, personally, but a 7 LED PCB is quite expensive: www.rad-ass.de: Prototyp RA7-XML Small enough and 7-up in with a Senser or Task led driver.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by MK96 View Post
    I like that housing, personally, but a 7 LED PCB is quite expensive: www.rad-ass.de: Prototyp RA7-XML Small enough and 7-up in with a Senser or Task led driver.
    Yes, I liked that housing too until I contacted rad-ass and found they wanted 80 Euro + 18 Euro shipping for it. :-(

    I actually have a 7up XML board already installed in one of my Troutie housings, so I would use that.

  14. #14
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    Excellent upgrade!

  15. #15
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    Oh, didn't know that

    Quote Originally Posted by kwarwick View Post
    Yes, I liked that housing too until I contacted rad-ass and found they wanted 80 Euro + 18 Euro shipping for it. :-(

    I actually have a 7up XML board already installed in one of my Troutie housings, so I would use that.

  16. #16
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    Nice work! Anyone know a source for the 7up reflectors? I know 7up TIR lenses are available.

  17. #17
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    There may be some kind of a thermal block where the body parts are joined together. Have you added some thermal compound when you reassembled the light? Glue and silicone can cause this thermo block even in small layer.

    Quote Originally Posted by EFMax View Post
    From a hand touch, I can see that the leds are sending their heat to the front of the chassis. The rear end where the board is appears only slightly warm, not sure if the way I have done things is the best way as this is my first attempt at picking lights apart and putting them back like this but I feel more rest assured when I have done say an hour's riding at full throttle.

  18. #18
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    Well two months on my overall view is that this has been a stable and worthwhile upgrade. The replacement batteries were a smart move (so thanks for the tips guys).

    I have had zero issues, no over heating, nothing cutting out and everything working first time, every time.

    I ended up leaving the lights set at 3A drive and on the multimode setting. I finally reconfigured the strobe mode to be more road friendly so it doesn't super dazzle everyone. This has been very helpful as no one opens their car doors on me now as they can see the lights flashing on the road signs ahead and nearly always check to see where it is coming from.. Pisses me off drivers who are like a metre plus away from the kerb and their passengers just open their doors and jump out.

    Off road, level 2 works just fine on open paths and level 3 is great on tight(ish) single tracks. I did some off road stuff in the Philippines and then onto Bali in November; temps were as hot as 28*c at 4am so daytime was hot - we did some volcano runs and it was a total blast - some paths were not much wider than your handlebars and we still managed to hit 62Kph on one part of a step 2Km decent - epic - I could not have done it without these lights even though in some parts I was outside of my comfort zone technically.. so I feel that the expense was worth it as my runtimes are very long for my daytime and night time use - I charge the battery every weekend where the voltage has dropped to about 13.5v but in return I get about 75mins per day using a mix of L1 for daytime and L3 for off road rides so about 9ish hours.. I have not bothered to see what L4 or L5 will run to but from indoor testing, I expect L4 to give me at least 3+ hours.. L5 would only ever be for short bursts.

  19. #19
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    Glad the lights are doing fine. They are good work horses with quality stuff inside. You can leave LiPo cells charged to 3.8-3.9V/cell or if you have a hobby charger use the storage mode. Enjoy the lights ;-)

  20. #20
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    4 Months down the road.. everything is still all good. The light can handle staying on at level 4 for many hours and still not break a sweat. From this, I am guessing that the LED's are well grounded and the board I used is also well grounded because it is hard to tell if the housing is even warm and this is when it is not moving so zero over heating issues.

    I also use this light as a daytime light and for this I have 6 flashing modes to chose from and to that end I have created a friendly (but you can't miss me) night time commute flash mode and also a slightly more aggressive daytime commute mode (this is using L1 as a constant and L3 as a pulse). In this mode, the light will light up reflective roads signs on both sides of the road over 250mt away. This has the advantage of making sure that even when a car has passed you, it still knows you are around and that as you approach in slow moving traffic, several cars ahead can see you coming; it also means people don't step off the pavement in front of you but best of all is that people no longer open their car doors on me as the light gives people that "WTF" is that expression and they think twice - also your "I am going to pull out in front of you" people now think again because the light is in your face, all be it as a pulse of light.

    I have used the other four mode choices to have enhanced daytime modes for rain, fog and bright uncoming sunlight. I have also moved the switch from the back of the light to the end stop on the handle bars so I can control everything and all of the modes without moving my hands of the bars.. it feels much safer this way now.

    Along the way I blew up a few boards but that was down to my poor soldering skills but now its sorted, it may be a long time before I need to think about upgrading again..

  21. #21
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    i'm interested in doing this mod too, thanks for posting!
    Quote Originally Posted by Optimus View Post
    Hell of a jump, dawg. Even though they're baggy shorts, I'm surprised that you can fit your balls into them.

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