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  1. #1
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    Very Easy XM-L Build

    Just sharing what I've picked up from reading in this forum. Thanks to everyone for sharing their ideas!!

    Object of this build is:
    1) Make it as easy as possible so that anyone can do it.
    2) Use very little power tools, so no cutting / gluing of metal.
    3) To run the XM-L at high power from two to four hrs.
    4) Use as little of this $$$ as possible!

    The Parts
    Led Supply dot com
    XM-L Cool White - $10.05
    Optics Carclo 20mm - Plain Tight Lens for helmet / Medium Ripple Lens on bar - $1.25ea
    Optic holder - $0.23

    Deal Extreme (DX)(Free Shipping)
    LED Driver sku#57779 - $5
    TrustFire Protected 18650 Lithium Battery (2500mAh 2-Pack Blue) sku #5790 - $7.99 (if you want to save you can use rechargable AA 8 min. good for ~2hrs but not as bright as using four 18650s).
    14.8V 4 x 18650 Battery Holder Case Box with Leads sku#103855 - $2.80
    Universal Adjustable Bicycle Mount for Flashlights (2cm~4cm Diameter) sku#31871 - $2.39
    Clicky Switch for Flashlights (17.8mm 5-Pack) sku#5602 - $1.90
    JST Cables (10-Pair) SKU#15234 - $2.78

    Westburne Electrical Supply (Pricing in CDN$)
    1 - 3/4 ALUMINUM CONDUIT COUPLING - $5.52
    2 - CUP-2 KILLARK 3/4" CLOSE-UP PLUG - $1.95
    1 - R32 KILLARK CONDULET - $2.30

    Total comes to $52.17
    If you have your own batteries - $33.37
    Less if you have your own wires and switches.

    The Build
    Here is a pictures of most of the parts


    1 - Mark out the holes you need to drill through the heat sink (cup 2 close plug) and drill.

    2 - Using a soldering iron, solder the wires to the Led and paste it to the heat sink. ( I used Fujik compond that I got from DX working on other projects).Make sure to press down so that the Led is in good contact with the heat sink. You can use the optic holder and screw the R32 down on top of them. Note: I shaved off the tabs on the optic holder that hold down the optics, the R32 will hold it down for you.



    3 - Now solder the Led wires to the Led Driver. Remember to use some heat shrink to cover the expose wires.


    4 - The opening of the body (3/4 ALUMINUM CONDUIT COUPLING) is big enough for the driver to fit through.


    5 - Take the second Cup 2 Close Plug and drill a hole through the middle. Make sure the hole is the same size or a bit larger as the wires you're using for the battery. After this no other power tool is needed. As you can see I have two sets of wires, one for the battery, the other for the remote switch.


    6 - Push the wires through the second Cup 2 Close Plug and solder it to the Led Driver. Positive goes in the middle, negative around the edge. I used some heat shrink and a zip tie a cable strain. As you can see I've already screwed on the light head to the body


    7 - Before closing it up, test to see if it's working!


    8 - Once it's working, close it up by holding the power / switch wire steady and rotate the Cup 2 Close Plug into the body. Make sure the wires are not rotating also!! You should be able to have the Close Plug flush with the end of the body. When it's done you'll be holding this in your hands.
    **There could be a small chance that the soldered points may make contact with inside the light body creating a short. You can wrap it with electrical tape or thermal paste the yellow metal thingy to the inside to secure it. Thanks to "slcpunk".for pointing this out.


    9 - Sit back and have a cold one!!

    10 - Wait for the darkness to arrive!! Then go out and ride!!

    I have used clear RTV Silicone to seal the seams from water especially the back where the power wires are, fill it up with silicone. I'll be using a 30mm lens to cover the front and seal it the same way. All my wire conx are sealed the same way.

    Water proofing accessories for the batteries.


    The light on my bar and remote switch.



    Beam shots


    Outside
    Camera set to manual
    ISO 200
    Shutter 4s
    WB - Daylight
    Jpeg
    No post processing
    Fence is about 50 feet away.

    No Lights "Duh"


    Wide on bar "High"


    Wide on bar "Low"


    Spot on helmet "High"


    Spot on helmet "Low"


    Both "High"


    Both "Low"



    Some other info
    Weight - .095lbs according to the scale in the cafe at the place of work.
    Been riding for close to two hrs at night and running at high and body only slightly warm to the touch. Lights up the trail pretty darn good!
    Don't know what lumens it's producing, I'm guessing around 900? I know XM-L's produces over 1000, I'm happy with 900 hopefully.
    Ordering from DX was easy and took about 1 1/2 wks to arrive from the time of odering. Led Supply was much quicker, but then they are only in the US.

    Sorry no trail shots, to much of a hasle to bring camera, tripod etc. One of these days, maybe.

    Well hope this help anyone looking for an easy DIY light build with little power tools needed. Everything just screws right in!

    UPDATE:
    Adding this video on how these lights work on the trail. Sorry but the GoPro does not work very well in low light. But well enough when the lights are on high. Enojoy.



    Update:

    Do you guys wish this build could be a little lighter and smaller? I would also say easier, but this is about as easiest as it gets.



    Well you're in luck! Cause meet XM-L's little cozin..."XM-L2"



    They are about the same in length but the new body has a smaller diameter.




    It weights less too!! I assuming it'll weight in at around 81g with driver, optics, emitter and wires in place.

    I'm going to be using XM-L2 emitters with AMC7135 3.0A driver on this new build.

    Will I really see a difference in light output between a 2.8A and a 3.0A driver?

    Anyways here is the info you'll need if you want the smaller body.
    Mainbody is 1/2 ALUMINUM CONDUIT COUPLING $5.00
    Optic holder is R-21 $1.83
    Heat sink is CUP-1 KILLARK 1/2" CLOSE-UP PLUG $1.60

    To close up the back end, I'll use one of the sliding door thingy with a cable gland through it.
    Last edited by pucked up; 09-30-2013 at 02:44 PM.

  2. #2
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    Very cool! Thanks for sharing!

  3. #3
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    Looks like you know your stuff. Nice builds and write up.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by odtexas View Post
    Looks like you know your stuff. Nice builds and write up.
    Brilliant

  5. #5
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    Very nice. I've got a couple friends interested in lights, but were put off by the $150 or so price tag on what my last build and batteries would run. I'll have to direct them to your build.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by odtexas View Post
    Looks like you know your stuff. Nice builds and write up.
    You learn a lot in these forums. Thanks.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clipless in PA View Post
    Very nice. I've got a couple friends interested in lights, but were put off by the $150 or so price tag on what my last build and batteries would run. I'll have to direct them to your build.
    I hope this will help them out.

  8. #8
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    Added liinks to the parts and corrected the sku# for the Trustfire 18650 batteries. Once you have all the parts, it should take you about 45mins to assemble.

  9. #9
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    Sweet! I'm personally not a fan of the trustfire batteries since there seem to be so many counterfeit batteries out there that are using the name, but otherwise a really nice tidy build. Thanks for sharing.
    The study du jour: can one's reputation be artificially inflated by simply putting a request for rep in one's sig?

  10. #10
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    Fantastic use of easy to find parts.

    pucked up, you've given me a few ideas on how to get around the fact that my lathe can't cut threads

  11. #11
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    Cool build.

    Instead of the coupler and second plug could you use two of the Condulet's and join them with the one plug in the middle?



    After this tuck the driver up tight to the plug then screw on a second Condulet to cover the driver. You would need to make a little plate to close up the end of the housing. some thin plastic sheet cut round and glued in with silicone.

    Housing would end up a bit smaller and the thread would provide surface area to act as heat sink.

    There would be no single smooth surface to mount, but perhaps file one side flat to tap screw hole for a mount.

    I need to build a couple lights for an event in September, this gives me ideas.

    Anyone know what the height of a modified Regina is vs these Carlco and holders? I have some Regina's I had ordered to use in a sled design.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by shirk View Post
    Cool build.

    Instead of the coupler and second plug could you use two of the Condulet's and join them with the one plug in the middle?
    Hey Shirk
    I've tried that but unfortunately the Cup 2 Plug only screws in to the Condulet one way, smooth side in first.

    I what I can't believe that I didn't think of during the build is, you can file down either the remain threads on the Cup 2 Plug or the threads from inside the Condulet slide it together and JB Weld the second one to the plug / first Condulet..



    You can hammer in a sliding closet door thingy into the opening of the back side to cover up the driver.Or there could be a cable gland big enough to cover it whole killing two birds as you can now pass the wires through it. The opening itself is 20mm.



    I like this idea, which I think I will explore some more. Just waiting on parts to arrive. If it works it'll reduce the cost and weight of the build! Thanks.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by borrower View Post
    Sweet! I'm personally not a fan of the trustfire batteries since there seem to be so many counterfeit batteries out there that are using the name, but otherwise a really nice tidy build. Thanks for sharing.
    Yeah I don't know if these are real or not, I just bought the ones with the most positive reviews. Price wasn't bad either. So far on a charge I would use a set twice for about 1 1/2 hrs on high before recharging.

  14. #14
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    Ah yes thinking about it now you would need reverse thread cut on the 2nd Condulet.

    Maybe the conduit coupling could be shortened to make it a bit smaller/lighter.

  15. #15
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    anyone know where i can buy these parts from the uk? i can find the electrical parts but cant seem to find the aluminium parts.

    thanks

  16. #16
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    Excellent job Puckedup. The photos along with the concise description makes this a Do-It-Yourself project that anyone can build. Bravo!

  17. #17
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    Total noob questions here, but I have to ask - this build was so simple and didn't require any fancy tools, i just wanted to make sure i understood all the aspects.

    1) would it be necessary ( or recommended ) to heat sink the driver?
    2) should the driver be insulated from the body of the light? Seems like it could make contact with the sides touch the solder joints or just the bottom

    sorry if I missed something, but those were the only differences i saw with this build vs. a simple sled build where the driver is physically attached to the body. ( maybe i missed how that is done here - seemed to just be sitting inside attached to the LED and switch by the wires.

    thanks!

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by kieron_67 View Post
    anyone know where i can buy these parts from the uk? i can find the electrical parts but cant seem to find the aluminium parts.

    thanks
    Try electrical outlets that supply companies in the industry. The aluminium parts I got is pretty common which companies use in their construction business. I don't know if the UK has the same electrical standards as Canada / North America but if you do companies there maybe using the same parts.

    These parts can not be found in your local hardware stores. But many distributors are willing to sell them to the regular Joe, Westburne is just one of them. Another is Fastenal which I see has distributors in the UK.

    Good Luck.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by slcpunk View Post
    Total noob questions here, but I have to ask - this build was so simple and didn't require any fancy tools, i just wanted to make sure i understood all the aspects.

    1) would it be necessary ( or recommended ) to heat sink the driver?
    2) should the driver be insulated from the body of the light? Seems like it could make contact with the sides touch the solder joints or just the bottom

    sorry if I missed something, but those were the only differences i saw with this build vs. a simple sled build where the driver is physically attached to the body. ( maybe i missed how that is done here - seemed to just be sitting inside attached to the LED and switch by the wires.

    thanks!
    Hi slcpunk,

    1) You can heat sink the driver but I did not in this case and have not has any issues so far.

    2) Yeah didn't think about that. But it's so tight in there that there is a very low chance that it will. But there still a chance so taking caution is always a good thing! Don't want your lights to go out in the middle of you ride. I may have to squeeze some thermal paste in there to keep things still. Thanks!!

    I should update that step!

  20. #20
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    I have never had an issue with the drivers overheating. I don't heat sink mine.
    I do coat all edges and power connections with 5 minute epoxy. The epoxy keeps the driver from ever shorting out against the aluminum. Oxidized aluminum isn't all that conductive to start with though.
    During assembly I usually add a little more 5 minute epoxy to the driver so it glues into one spot. Had a driver that would rattle in one light that I built and it made me crazy.


  21. #21
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    The driver that you've speced has a board on top of the coil, have you modified the board to remove it?

    also you state 3/4 coupling which is 19m but it says the driver measures 22mm

    is this the correct driver?

    thanks
    Last edited by kieron_67; 08-10-2012 at 10:59 AM.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by kieron_67 View Post
    The driver that you've speced has a board on top of the coil, have you modified the board to remove it?

    also you state 3/4 coupling which is 19m but it says the driver measures 22mm

    is this the correct driver?

    thanks
    Hi Kieron 67

    The driver I received did not have the top board, don't know if the design has changed but the sku# matched that was on the packaging. I'll guess I'll find out if the ones I received was a mistake as I have ordered some more.

    The size of the opening of the 3/4 coupling is 26mm more than enough room for the driver to fit. I don't know where I said it was 19mm?

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by pucked up View Post
    Hi Kieron 67

    The driver I received did not have the top board, don't know if the design has changed but the sku# matched that was on the packaging. I'll guess I'll find out if the ones I received was a mistake as I have ordered some more.

    The size of the opening of the 3/4 coupling is 26mm more than enough room for the driver to fit. I don't know where I said it was 19mm?
    no you didnt say it was 19mm, i dont work much with things in inches so assumed that the 3/4" was the internal size of the thread which was 19mm, thats my mistake,

    thanks for clearing that up

  24. #24
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    For the ones that pm me for trail shots, here's the update.

    All shots taken with the following settings:
    ISO - 200 (sorry no 100)
    WB - Daylight
    Shutter - 3s
    Manual
    Jpeg straight from camera.

    No Lights


    Handlebar Wide Low (Cool White)


    Handlebar Wide High (Cool White)


    Helmet Spot Low (Neutral White)


    Helmet Spot High (Neutral White)


    Both Low


    Both High


    A second handle bar light was used cool white with a med spot. All 3 on high, two guys are about 60ft away.


    Both handle bar lights on high


    Hope this helps anyone out there looking at making this light build.

  25. #25
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    One more update.


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