Cheapo light issue- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Cheapo light issue

    I have had great luck with my cheap Chinese lights. They light super bright and for the price....how can I not be happy. My buddy has a light though that has about 100 hrs of use and just went dim. It is a single led emmiter light. It works in all ranges and settings but is only about 1% of its original brightness. I tried a different battery and it is the light itself. He gave me the light and I would love to learn more about how these work. I can solder and take it appart I just need some insight as to what I am looking at. Any ideas as to what I should look at?




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  2. #2
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    Is there an inductor (donut shaped thing with wire wrapped around it) on the other side of the driver board? if so, check for a broken joint where the wires solder to the board. I found that to cause a similar failure on a couple MS lights several years ago. Burned out current sense resistor is also a possible culprit.
    GoPro adapters for bike lights http://www.pacifier.com/~kevinb/index.html

  3. #3
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    Yes, you need to look the drver from the other side. Also measuring voltages on the led side could help.

    If you have at hand some voltage source with 3 to 3.2V you can try to connect it directly to the led for the moment. If the led goes bright then the problem is shurely in the driver.

  4. #4
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    I will try the 3 volt source directly thanks.
    This is the other side. No inductor.


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  5. #5
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    Flashlight driver....

    No inductor at all means the pack that is running it should only be a 4.2v (possibly labelled 3.7v) NOT 8.4v pack that is more commonly used. For reference not all drivers have a big coil of wire for an inductor, some have a little black thing with tiny wire spooled around it while others it's just a square box soldered to the board that is obviously larger than anything else on the driver. Surface mount inductor. Rarely seen but the yinding uses them.

    If the system was pushed with 8.4v there's a good chance the hole thing is smoked.

    But I would 110% agree with ledoman, test direct 3V source to make sure emitter isn't cooked too.

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  6. #6
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    I agree with Tigris the driver you have is very likely direct drive 4.2V one. Can't see traces on your picture, but R100 is sense resistor (regulating current to the led). There are some transistors regulating path/modes.

    Here at DX is the replacement driver in case you would need it. Very likely the 22mm diameter is the same. Dependable what you really get I would add some more juice to it with piggyback sense resistor to get more current. Or replace it with R100 if the resistor on your faulty driver is stil good.

    I would love to see full and sharp macro picture of the led to determine if it is genuie Cree or cheapo Chinese clone.

  7. #7
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    Best I can do. It's still dim when hooked direct.

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  8. #8
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    I have decided to rebuild it entirely. The driver looks great. Do you have a good source for the emmiter?

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  9. #9
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    www.mtnelectronics.com

    Best source there is in the states and prices are same as buying direct from China. Can do a nice emitter upgrade, try neutral white emitters etc.

    And yes xm-l2 is the EXACT SAME as XML that you have there. Just make sure to buy one on a 20mm base (mcpcb). Reflowing emitters is an advanced operation and for the cost of emitters already on a mcpcb it's not worth it for most ppl to reflow yourself.

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  10. #10
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    Terranaut, picture is to bad. Just for the cause compare your led to those at this thread: - The Fake-Cree LED Awareness Thread - The new "low" in Budget lights. | BudgetLightForum.com
    From looking your picture I would say it is geniue Cree, but can't be shure.

    Anyway I'm with Tigris, buy neutal white XM-L2 on 20mm star. If you want good source in China then look at Fasttech.com. They have quite some led variations. Unfortunately most are sold out. I've found this one as suitable.

  11. #11
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    After comparing it to the photos in the provided link (thank you very much) I would guess it is genuine Cree. Dark base and similar to the real one shown. So I looked at the emmiters in my own lights and they are Lattice Bright for sure and not Cree. Funny that my original 7 LED light has out lasted the real Cree emmiters in this case. Great info guys. Thank you .

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  12. #12
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    My guess it that nothing is wrong with the emitter. If the emitter is fried it's because the cheap-axx driver failed and fried it. It's likely something on the driver board. Regardless, this type of lamp is really cheap, cheap in price, cheap in quality. If you know where you got the original you could just order another for about $20. The whole point of buying a cheap Chinese lamp is that, "They are affordable enough to just throw away and replace if they fail". If it goes up you just buy another and use the old one for parts. Besides if you're going to use the cheapest of Chinese lamps it doesn't hurt to have back-up's, even if you have the tech skills to do component replacement.

    Since no one else mentioned it I'll assume you tested the lamp with another battery to rule out the battery being the cause?

  13. #13
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    I wrote above that I did actually test with another battery pack and a direct hook up to a 3 volt source. Stayed dim. I will replace both parts. Still half the price of a new cheapo light and I get to rub it into my friend that I was able to fix it as well as learn a little about these lights in the process. 25 yrs ago I worked as an amp builder at a hearing aid plant ( Unitron) so I can solder very well. If I had a decent scope to see with I would try to fix the original board but will have to settle for just fitting some new parts.

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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terranaut View Post
    I wrote above that I did actually test with another battery pack and a direct hook up to a 3 volt source. Stayed dim. I will replace both parts. Still half the price of a new cheapo light and I get to rub it into my friend that I was able to fix it as well as learn a little about these lights in the process. 25 yrs ago I worked as an amp builder at a hearing aid plant ( Unitron) so I can solder very well. If I had a decent scope to see with I would try to fix the original board but will have to settle for just fitting some new parts.

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    Okay so this is about bragging rights. If you buy parts you not only have to buy the parts but pay for shipping. Okay, so maybe it's cheaper that way. You save ten bucks or so. If the parts fail to fix the problem you're back at square one.

    Of course there is another option that involves DIY; You could just buy a replacement board and wire it in. Hook up the leads and install the new emitter and you have a custom light. ( Note; Kaidomain sells different driver boards. They may have something that will work. ) I recommend going to the DIY forum ( link at top of page ) on MTBR and ask if there is a good place to get the replacement boards to fix your lamp. )

  15. #15
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    Yes, there are two variants of the same driver at Kaidomain:

    3 modes: http://kaidomain.com/p/S023819.8_4V-...M-L-Bike-Light
    4 modes: http://kaidomain.com/p/S023147.8_4V-...M-L-Bike-Light

    Not much others that are suitable, if any.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by ledoman View Post
    Yes, there are two variants of the same driver at Kaidomain:

    3 modes: http://kaidomain.com/p/S023819.8_4V-...M-L-Bike-Light
    4 modes: http://kaidomain.com/p/S023147.8_4V-...M-L-Bike-Light

    Not much others that are suitable, if any.
    Yep, I'd go with the second one, 4-mode ( L-M-H-press to hold strobe ). This is assuming that his lamp is using an 8.4 volt battery...(?)...OR....he could just buy one of these and be done with it. Heck, if I were going to order something from China I'd be willing to get both. $9.68 for a MS clone ( lamp head only ) is hard to beat ( but what the hell do I know... BTW, that's a nice looking clone. NW XM-L2 U2 LED included!
    Anyway, they have other "lamp head only lights" as well. Some a little more than others. A typical Tri-clone lamp head is now about $12

  17. #17
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    Cat, nice find. I didn't even look at it. I don't look for those MS clones anymore. I agree it is much easier to buy new head only, particulary from KD which I trust pretty much. I assume it includes the driver I've linked and the led is one to go. Having Neutral White led and OP reflector it can be better than original. Shurely much better than light head from the first post.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by ledoman View Post
    Cat, nice find. I didn't even look at it. I don't look for those MS clones anymore. I agree it is much easier to buy new head only, particularly from KD which I trust pretty much. I assume it includes the driver I've linked and the led is one to go. Having Neutral White led and OP reflector it can be better than original. Surely much better than light head from the first post.
    ...neither do I. I was looking for just the driver and saw the link to the bike light "light head only". Surprising what you can get for cheap. I bet the Chinese people themselves only pay about $3 for one if they buy one on the street.

  19. #19
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    Man I was hoping he'd rebuild the one he's got, only cause I like corrupting people to be like us and not only night ride, but tinker with them.

    Stop giving him the easy ways out Cat!

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  20. #20
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    Good post!

  21. #21
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    I am going to rebuild it. I like the size and shape of the housing. It will make a great helmet light. Going to order new parts this week. Thanks so much for the links.

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  22. #22
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    Let us know how it turns out.

  23. #23
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    Ordered my parts today. The housing I have is exactly the same as the complete light in the link above. Should be an easy fix. Saving a whole dollar doing it myself

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