The Surefire Z32 bezel was used on the Surefire M2 flashlight and currently on the Surefire M951XM07 Millennium® Universal WeaponLight. The main design function of the bezel is to isolate the incandescent lamp assembly from weapon recoil shock. Since the shock mechanism reduces the heat dissipation ability of the bezel, I use aluminum shims or copper tape around the LED drop-ins to help dissipate the heat through the flashlight body.
The Surefire 6P, is to me, what a flashlight looks like (though I have moved on from incandescent lamp assemblies to LED drop-ins, such as this modified Malkoff M61). The stock Surefire 6P is 5.20″ (132 mm) long and the bezel diameter is 1.25″ (~32 mm). I like the current design of the Surefire Z32 bezel as opposed to the original design with the vented ribs. The Z32 bezel is about 1/4″ larger in diameter and about 3/8″ longer than the Z44 bezel that is standard on the 6P. With a Z32 bezel on a 6P body, it looks even more like a flashlight.
I’ve been using a Surefire E series bezel and a Veleno Designs E-Series tower module with a Vital Gear FB-1. I wanted a brighter light, so I bought a Vital Gear E to C adapter that enables the use of a P60 style dropin. When I screwed on a Surefire Z44 bezel, it made the front end of the light a little larger than I wanted.
Valiant Concepts makes the VME Malkoff Valiant Concepts Head that fits on an E series body and enables the use of a Malkoff Devices M series dropin lamp assembly. The VME head includes a lens for dropins that don’t have one but I use it with a Malkoff M60, which has a protective lens as part of the optic. I modded my M60 with a driver that enables three modes. The diameter of the VME head is slightly smaller than a Z44 bezel – 1 1/8″ vs 1 1/4″ (28.5 mm vs 31.6 mm) – which doesn’t sound like much but it makes a difference. With the modded M60, the flashlight is a lot brighter and also throws further than the Veleno Designs module.
I bought a used Surefire KX2 head for my Surefire E2D, so I had a spare Veleno Designs E-Series tower module in search of a flashlight. I found a Vital Gear FB1, which is a single cell, Surefire E-Series compatible body with a forward clicky switch.
I’ve been carrying this flashlight built with the Veleno Designs E-Series 3 mode, neutral white, tower module; a slightly de-pronged Surefire E-Series Defender head and the Vital Gear FB1 body. The Veleno Designs module is about 140 lumens on the brightest mode and it has a good low mode. The flashlight is very light, compact and is only about 3″ long (77mm). It’s a lot brighter than a Surefire E1L Outdoorsman and about 1″ (25.4mm) shorter.
When I read that Surefire was discontinuing the Surefire E2D flashlight, I found a good deal on a new one. I liked the ability of the E2D to tailstand, that is, on a flat surface, the flashlight will stand vertically on the tailcap.
I decided to make a couple of mods to the flashlight too – modifying the strike bezel so it wasn’t so sharp; changing the switch in the tailcap and replacing the incandescent lamp with an LED.
I wasn’t really in need of the defensive capability of the crenelated Strike Bezel®, so I used my Dremel’s cut-off wheel to grind down the bezel so it wouldn’t be so aggressive toward the inside of my pocket. I used a Birchwood Casey Super Black™ Touch-Up Pen on the bare aluminum.
I read that the McClicky switch is a direct screw-in replacement in the discontinued Surefire Z52 twisty switch but using it in Surefire Z57/Z61 tailcaps requires some modification. I assumed the inner construction of the E2D tailcap was similar to the Surefire Z57/Z61 and the Z68 tailcaps.
Most of the E-series/McClicky modifications I found required a 11/16 x 20 tap to cut more threads in the tailcap to correctly position the McClicky switch. In trying to find a way of avoiding buying a tap, I realized if I removed some of the threads on the McClicky switch to reduce the diameter of the front end, I could insert it from the rear of the tailcap housing. The modded switch stops in the correct position against a rim that was already machined in the tailcap and is held by the stock retaining ring.
The last mod was to replace the 25 lumen MN02 incandescent lamp assembly with an LED. The simplest and most expensive way to do this is to buy a Surefire KX2C (200 lumen single mode) head or a KX2 LED Conversion Head (3 lumen/60 lumen dual mode). Surefire sells these two heads for $150 (USD) each. That’s what I did with my Surefire E2E (KX2) but I managed to buy it on eBay for considerably less. Before arriving at this point, it may have been better to consider the $189 (USD) E2D LED Defender® Dual-Output LED flashlight.
With the E2D, I thought I’d try the Veleno Designs Surefire E series incandescent to LED conversion three mode module. It’s essentially a brass heatsink with a neutral/warm Cree XP-G. The module fits inside the E2D bezel and the input voltage range is 1.8V to 5.5V (1 x CR123 or 1 Li-Ion rechargeable). I sanded the inner body of the flashlight with emery cloth so it accommodates a protected 17670 Li-Ion battery. The E2D flashlight is about .5 inches (12.7 mm) shorter than the E2DL.
The Veleno Designs module is “tested to provide 200 lumens of actual output.” Mine doesn’t seem as bright as my KX2 and I since I’m used to cool white LEDs, the neutral/warm color of this module seems green to me sometimes. I may get over it.
I bought a Surefire E2E because it was a good deal. I didn’t realize until I received it how much smaller it is in comparison to the Surefire 6P flashlights that I have. It’s about the same size as my JETBeam Jet-I Pro.
The E2E uses an incandescent lamp, the Surefire MN03 lamp assembly, with an output is 60 lumens. The output seemed a little low so I started looking for ways to make it brighter.
I’d rather use LEDs and I found that Veleno Designs makes a good option fits in the E2E head. The Veleno Designs E Series LED drop-in is machined from brass, has great heat sinking and uses a Cree XP-G LED. I ordered a 3 mode cool white model and while the output was great, the tint was a little green. The manufacturer said that most people order a neutral tint so they don’t have that problem.
In a few discussions on cpfmarketplace.com, it was theorized that the E2E reflector was causing the green tint and it was a lottery whether the factory reflector had the green tint. Instead of buying a new bezel/reflector, I tried re-silvering the reflector. The tint was still green.
Because of the work involved in putting another LED on the Veleno drop-in, I decided to try to find a deal on a Surefire KX2 LED Conversion Head. When I received it after a week, the tint on my new KX2 was also green. I had also taken a very long way to get to a E2L Outdoorsman.
Determined to get the light I wanted, I disassembled the KX2 using a heat gun to release the ample amount of glue that Surefire used on the threads to hold the head together. I unsoldered the leads from the LED board, removed the two hex screws holding the LED board to the drop-in and pushed the LED board out.
I then unsoldered the old Cree XR-E and reflowed soldered in a new Cree XR-E (R2 bin). I reassembled the KX2 using Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound underneath the LED board and when I first tried the light the hot spot was off center. I centered the LED and because the threads on the bezel that holds the Surefire Total Internal Reflection (TIR) lens were no longer glued, I was able to focus the beam to a perfect hot spot. And finally I have a neutral tint.
Now that the KX2 is open, I could use another driver, maybe try a McR-19XR reflector or an XP-G LED; but it’s been a long road to get here, so maybe I’ll wait a while.
Posted by Mr. Leslie Wong On September - 19 - 2010
The beam from my Veleno Designs E-Series LED drop-in my Surefire E2E had a green tint. I replaced it with a neutral tint Cree XP-G LED and the beam still had a green tint. Some people commented that the green tint was caused by the stock Surefire reflector.
Instead of buying a new E2E head, I removed the factory reflective coating on the head with solvent and tried using “chrome” paint to re-coat it. The Krylon Metallics Bright Silver (1401) paint was not reflective enough to be used as a flashlight reflector. With the E2E reflector six feet away from a white wall, the bulb just threw a giant white circle with no hot spot.
Next I tried Mona Lisa Silver Leaf. The leaf material comes in booklets of 25 (5.5″ x 5.5″) sheets. I used Gold Leaf Adhesive Size on the E2E head before applying the leaf. The size is a water-based adhesive that dries to a light tack before the leaf is applied.
The silver leaf is so thin that picking up part of a sheet will tear it. I just tried to get a large enough piece to cover the reflector then I burnished it lightly. There were some creases in the leaf, but since I wasn’t trying to get an absolutely mirror finish, the imperfections weren’t a problem. The reflector with the silver leaf has a nice hotspot. I’m not sure how the size (adhesive) will hold up to the heat.
I received my Malkoff Devices M61 drop-in last week. The drop-in uses a Cree XP-G LED and it’s designed to replace the lamp assembly in Surefire 6P style flashlights. Malkoff Devices says, “the output is approximately 260 measured out the front lumens.” It is a single mode drop-in.
I bought the M61 with the intention of modding it with the Shiningbeam three-mode regulated circuit board (SKU 1218). The Cree XP-G datasheet (PDF) had recently noted an “increase of maximum forward current to 1500 mA for XLamp XP-G Cool White is retroactive and applies to all XLamp XP-G Cool White LEDs produced by Cree. The increase is the result of more extensive qualification testing that was performed after the initial product launch.” The Shiningbeam board output current is 60 mA on low, 440 mA on medium and 1.4 A on high.
First, I removed the potting and contact spring. In the process, I destroyed the Malkoff driver board. I used a Dremel to reduce the diameter of the Shiningbeam board so it would fit inside the drop-in.
The Shiningbeam board works as advertised – I measured 1.4 A on high, 450 mA on medium and 65 mA on low. I’m not enamored with the yellow-green tint of the LED; maybe I’ll replace it down the line.
I have also used the Shiningbeam board in a DealExtreme XP-G R5 drop-in (SKU 32954). The result, compared to the Malkoff, is a little more throw and a lot less spill. The tint of the DealExtreme LED is also cooler – more blue.
After disassembling the M61, it’s clear that this is a most robust, superbly constructed drop-in. I can see why a professional would be able to rely on this drop-in in a life or death situation. But flashlights for me are a hobby, which is why I wanted to mod this drop-in to have (a more useful for me) three modes.
Now that I’m a flashaholic, I’m always looking for brighter LEDs. A recent eBay search for the latest Cree XR-E 7090 white LED R2 bin, I found this Solarforce Cree R2 (5 mode) drop-in.
It’s called a P60 sized drop-in, because that is a Surefire size designation for a reflector-LED-regulator assembly that also fits many different other manufacturers flashlights. The Solarforce drop-in is advertised as 290 lumens (seems unlikely), maximum. The five modes are: strobe, 3 levels of brightness and S.O.S. It was $27.99 USD plus $3.00 shipping. It showed up today in the mail and I was shocked, because delivery from China, where the vendor is located, took only 10 days.
For a comparison test, I used fully charged Ultrafire RCR123 batteries and Ultrafire 502B flashlights with switches replaced with Judco SPST 519PB-ND I bought from Digi-Key. The other P60 size drop-in was a generic Cree P4 module. In the first beamshot, the difference is brightness is minor. I tried another Cree P4 and it put out much less light compared to the Solarforce R2 drop-in. The third beam shot uses the first two modules, but is underexposed 1.5 stops to maximize the visual difference in the two beams.
So did I find a brighter light? I have the feeling I did. I’ll have to check it with my light meter and compare the EVs.
My beamshots were done with a Nikon D70, Nikon 50mm f1.4 lens. Exposure information: ISO 400, 1/30 sec, f2.0.