Modified Malkoff Devices M60 Drop-in

Posted by Mr. Leslie Wong On May - 15 - 2013

Modified Malkoff Devices M60 with 8xAMC7135 (2.8A) multi-mode driver

Malkoff Devices designs and manufactures high powered LED flashlight modifications for Maglites and Surefire flashlights and their own Malkoff LED flashlights. Their products are so well designed and constructed that they are coveted by professionals that depend on their flashlights and enthusiasts that appreciate their quality.

I bought my first Malkoff Devices M60 drop-in five years ago. The M60 drop-in had a Cree X-RE LED (Q5 bin) and Khatod 6 degree optic. This drop-in output 180 lumens driven at 1000 mA with a 2-3 hour runtime with two CR123 batteries. I wanted to update my M60 with a more powerful driver/LED combination.

In 2008, Cree XR-E LEDs were delivering 220 lumens at 1000 mA. In December of 2012, Cree introduced the XM-L2. Driving the XM-L2 U2 bin at 1000 mA will produce about 412 lumens. At 3000 mA, the XM-L2 will produce over 1000 lumens.

Multi-mode flashlights are more useful for me so I decided to use an 8xAMC7135 (2.8A) multi-mode driver and a Cree XM-L2 (U2 bin). The multi-mode driver has four configuration options, selectable during the build by grounding one of the four “stars” on the rear of the circuit board:

  • Star 1: 5/30/100/strobe/SOS
  • Star 2: 5/100/strobe
  • Star 3: 5/30/100
  • Star 4: 5/100
  • Modified Malkoff Devices M60 with McGizmo McR20J reflector

    Because of the robust nature of the Malkoff drop-in, disassembly is basically destructive. The stock circuit board is potted and the LED MCPCB is securely glued.

    To get the 8xAMC7135 driver board to fit in the Malkoff brass heatsink, I had to slightly reduce the 17mm diameter of the circuit board.

    To solder the LED to the MCPCB, I used a lead solder paste with a SMD hot air rework solder station at 220 degrees C for 40 seconds. After applying some Artic Silver 5 CPU Thermal Compound to the bottom of MCPCB, I glued it to the heatsink with JB Weld.

    After some research on reflectors, I chose the McGizmo McR20J (Joker). A glow-in-the-dark o-ring holds the reflector very securely in the heatsink.

    I compared this mod to the EDCPlus/IS X60L3 Triple XP-G2 LED P60 Dropin. The Malkoff mod has a very nice hotspot while the EDCPlus Triple has a broad floody beam. I like the nice hotspot the Cree XM-L2 produces with the McGizmo McR20 Joker reflector. It also has a decent amount of spill.

    Modified Malkoff Devices M60 with McGizmo McR20J reflector beam shot

    For this beam shot, I converted the original color image to black and white. The drop-in was about four feet (1.21 m) from the wall. On this off-white wall, there is a slight, but noticeable green tint from the beam.

    I put the drop-in in my Surefire C2. Instead of wrapping the drop-in with copper tape, I used some thin aluminum stock as a shim. I haven’t done any runtime tests but after 10 minutes on 100% power, the C2 bezel gets warm but not hot.

    Parts sources:
    Malkoff Devices Drop-ins for Surefire and Malkoff
    Cree XM-L2 LED
    8xAMC7135 driver board at Shiningbeam.com (2.8A) and Illumination Supply (3.04A)
    McGizmo McR20J (Joker) Reflector

    Surefire Z32 Bezel

    Posted by Mr. Leslie Wong On February - 9 - 2013

    Surefire 6P with Surefire Z44 bezel (top), Surefire 6P with Surefire Z32 bezel (bottom)

     

    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.

    Malkoff M61 Mod

    Posted by Mr. Leslie Wong On May - 8 - 2010

    Malkoff Devices M61 Drop-in

    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.

    Modded Malkoff Devices M61 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.

    Malkoff Drop-in for 3D Maglite

    Posted by Mr. Leslie Wong On March - 12 - 2010

    Malkoff Drop-In Module for 2-3 D Cell Maglite

    You’d think a 3D cell Maglite would be pretty bright. It’s over 12.5″ (310 mm) long and weighs over 30 oz (850 g) with batteries. With the standard Krypton bulb, the 3D Maglite puts out about 76 lumens. A flashaholic wants 76 lumens from a keychain light.

    The Maglite may be behind in bleeding edge illumination technology, but flashlight modders like them because it’s a great platform to build upon. One of my first mods was the Roar of the Pelican – a 2D Maglite running on 6AA batteries and a high wattage bulb. It puts out about 600 lumens.

    3D Cell Maglite with Malkoff Drop-In Module

    There are many LED Maglite mods that will put out a lot of light. Multi-chip LEDs – the Cree XLamp MC-E, Seoul Semiconductor Z-Power P7 and the Luminus SST-50 and SST-90 PhlatLight LEDs are popular because of their high outputs. You just need a heatsink for the LED, a driver and suitable batteries in a combination that won’t burn up any of the components. A lot of people have figured this out for you. Google.

    I decided to do the easiest high performance 3D cell Maglite upgrade: Malkoff Devices’ Maglite drop-in with the Cree XP-G LED. It’s not as bright as a multi-chip LED mod, but the Malkoff drop-in uses regular alkaline D cell batteries and it has a six hour runtime at full output. The only problem with the Malkoff drop-in is that it’s difficult to buy because it’s so popular. Once they are in stock, they sell out quickly. Malkoff Devices back-in-stock email notification system will alert you when they’re available, but even then you have to be fast.

    Beam shot

    Installation is simple: remove the existing bulb, push the drop-in down as far as it will go inside the flashlight and tighten the screw (which wedges the drop-in’s heat sink against the flashlight body). The bottom part of the reflector needs to be cut off to accommodate the drop-in. This is a simple cut with a razor saw. If that is too much for you, Malkoff Devices sells a pre-cut Maglite reflector for 7$.

    Malkoff Devices description: “This dropin produces a real 260 (measured out the front) lumens in a 2D or 3D light with alkaline batteries. The Drop-In module is constructed of CNC machined structural aircraft aluminum and has a regulated driver. Full heatsinking of the driver and LED insure that the module can, and will, run at maximum output for extended periods. It will easily illuminate objects at a distance of 1000+ feet and will light a 2 inch red reflector at a distance of more than 1/4 mile. If you shine someone with this at night, within a 100 ft radius, they should see spots for a good 8-10 seconds.

    Cree MC-E P60 drop-in Mod

    Posted by Mr. Leslie Wong On July - 4 - 2009

    Cree MC-E LED P60 Drop-in

    I was a little disappointed with my DealExtreme Cree MC-E P60 drop-in (SKU 21037). The specs say that on high, it should be pulling 2800ma and putting out 410 lumens. I measured 1.67A on high with a Li-Ion 18650 battery. But for $23.49 USD, I couldn’t complain too much.

    I saw that Shiningbeam.com has a 3-Mode Regulated Circuit Board for Cree MC-E and SSC P7 LEDs (SKU 1217). Their specs say the output current is 2500mA on high. I thought I’d try it as a replacement for the circuit board in my DX drop-in.

    It was an easy replacement since the Shiningbeam circuit board diameter is the same 17mm as the DX drop-in board. I am using it in a bored Surefire 6P body with the Surefire 6P bezel and a Solarforce L2-S4 tailcap.

    Shiningbeam.com SKU 1217

    The drop-in was a little loose. I had been using a Malkoff Beryllium-Copper spring washer, but it didn’t work too well this board. I cut one turn of a P60 drop-in spring and it creates a 1mm gap between the bezel and the body, but it works. I also had to put a longer spring on the circuit board because without it, the battery was loose.

    After I wired it up, I measured 2.39A on full power with the same battery, so it’s a worthwhile replacement. I don’t have the means to measure the light output except for the current draw but it is much brighter than the stock DX MC-E drop-in – though it still doesn’t look as bright as my direct drive P7 in my Ultrafire C2.

    The other nice thing is the Shiningbeam board has Low-Medium-High modes as opposed to the High-Low-Strobe on the stock DX.

    Cree MC-E LED P60 Drop-in

    Posted by Mr. Leslie Wong On March - 28 - 2009

    Cree MC-E LED Drop-in

    The current high lumen output LEDs use multiple chips on a single die. The Seoul Semiconductor Z-Power LED P7 and the Cree XLamp® MC-E LED are two examples that are in popular use by flashlight modders.

    I recently bought a DealExtreme Cree MC-E LED 3-Mode Drop-in Module ($18.30 USD) for my Surefire 6P flashlight (the 6P body is bored to work with a single 18650 battery).

    The DealExtreme P60 size drop-in works with 2.7V~4.2V – a single Li-Ion 18650 battery, single RCR123A battery or CR123A battery. There is also a not too low level mode and annoying strobe mode. In the Surefire 6P host (about 5.2″ long – 13.2 cm), the DealExtreme Cree MC-E drop-in is an extremely bright flashlight in a small package. There is an extensive list of similar sized flashlights that use P60 size drop-ins in this Candlepowerforums.com thread.

    DealExtreme seems optimistic in their description of the MC-E drop-in brightness as 410 lumens. It has more flood and less of a hot spot than the Malkoff M30. For comparison, my Malkoff Devices M30 output is rated at a realistic 235 lumens. My SSC P7 mod, inspired by jirik_cz, gives me the feeling that I am seeing everything. If not for the $125 USD cost, I would be all over the Malkoff M60 MC-E (NLA).

    In my flickr set below, there are beamshots comparing the Cree MC-E, Cree XR-E and SSC P7. I centered the beam of each light on the scrawny tree against the fence.

    Malkoff M60 Mod

    Posted by Mr. Leslie Wong On February - 16 - 2009

    Malkoff M60

    When I bought my first Surefire 6P flashlight, I found that the Malkoff M60 (now replaced by the M61) was one of the best P60 LED drop-ins.

    I like the beam profile produced by the optic in the Malkoff M60, a hot spot with useful spill. The disadvantage of the Malkoff M60 – for me – is its single mode. I do not need 100% brightness all the time – lower levels of light are sometimes more useful.

    One of my favorite flashlight mods is using the DealExtreme 16-Mode 3W 3.7V 7135 Circuit Board for Cree and SSC Emitters (SKU 7612). I like this circuit board because one of the groups has only low-mid-high, with no strobe. I’ve modded my Lumapower D-Mini, an Ultrafire C2 and a few P60 drop-ins with this board.

    The modes are in three groups:

    1. Low (10%) – Mid (35%) – High (100%) – Strobe – SOS
    2. Low (10%) – Mid (35%) – High (100%)
    3. Low (10%) – Mid (35%) – High (100%) – Special Police Type Strobe – Slow Strobe (3Hz) – Super Slow Strobe (1Hz) – SOS

    Malkoff M60 body

    I recently bought a Surefire 6P flashlight body that was bored to accept a larger diameter 18650 battery. I thought the DX 7612 would be a good mod for a Malkoff M60. The main problem was getting up the nerve to try to mod the Malkoff M60 because of the possibly destroying a $55 drop-in, but I decided to try it.

    The sealing material used around the circuit board and LED in the M60 is called potting. The rear of the drop-in is sealed with this material. I thought it would be a hard material but I found the it was actually soft and rubbery. I used a jeweler’s screwdriver as a chisel to start removing it. As I got close to the circuit board, I used a little lacquer thinner to soften the black sealing material. When I removed all the potting from the top of the board, I used some more lacquer thinner to soften the material in the gaps in the side. After removing the solder, I was able to pry up the circuit board and remove it.

    The diameter of the DX 7612 board is about 17mm. The Malkoff had about 16.5mm diameter space for the board, so I used a Dremel sanding band to reduce the diameter of the 7612.

    Malkoff M60 with DealExtreme SKU 7612 circuit board

    As I disassembled the Malkoff, the robust design was easy to see. When I desoldered the Malkoff circuit board from the housing, I could tell from the way it retained the heat (because of its mass), how well it would work as a heat sink inside the flashlight body.

    With the DX 7612 on high and an 18650 battery, the modded Malkoff output looks pretty much the same as the stock Malkoff M60 on high with two RCR123s. I haven’t taken any measurements, but the specs for the 7612 says it puts out 1000ma @ 3.7v, and since I didn’t move the LED or the optic, it seems like my modded Malkoff M60 is just like the stock one but with different levels.

    Surefire 6P Switch Mod

    Posted by Mr. Leslie Wong On August - 10 - 2008

    Surefire 6P Flashlight

    I bought a Surefire 6P to house my Malkoff Devices M60 drop-in. You have to be kind of a flashaholic to understand that sentence.

    Surefire describes the 6P as a “Compact (pocket sized), high-intensity incandescent flashlight for tactical, self-defense, and general use. (It) produces a smooth, brilliant, pre-focused tactical-level beam with three times the light of a big two-D-cell flashlight.”

    The 6P’s stock lamp assembly is a P60 incandescent lamp. You can stop right there and you have a great flashlight that puts out 65 lumens.

    Malkoff Devices M60 Drop-in

    The Malkoff Devices M60 drop-in (now replaced by the M61 with a Cree XP-G) uses a Cree XLamp XR-E LED (Q5 bin) as a replacement for the incandescent lamp. In addition to being more rugged, it puts out 235+ lumens. Gene Malkoff, the creator of the M60 says, “It will easily illuminate objects at 350+ feet and will blind opponents within a 100 foot radius.” That’s what we want.

    Naturally, when I get something new, I take it apart and think about how to mod it. My new Surefire’s switch seemed like a good candidate.

    McClicky Switch

    The Surefire Z41 tailcap is standard on the 6P. It has a momentary option by pushing the tailcap switch. Rotating the tailcap will turn on the light for constant operation.

    Most of my flashlights use a forward clicky switch. A slight press of the switch (before it clicks), will momentarily turn on the light and a full press (when the switch clicks), will latch it on. I’ve put the McClicky switch in seven or eight of my flashlights and thought it would work well in the Surefire 6P. I could have bought a Surefire Z59 Click-on Tailcap Switch or the Oveready McClicky Kit for USD $22, but it’s more satisfying making my own.

    I yanked out the insides of the existing switch and unscrewed the retaining ring. Sometimes the retaining ring is glued. I’ve put the tailcap in a ziplock bag and boiled it hot water for five minutes and the glue will release.

    McClicky Surefire Tailcap

    Since I only had a plastic retaining ring to hold in the new switch, I soldered a piece of brass to the McClicky switch so that it contacts the inside of the switch housing. I put a dab of solder on the contact on the other side so the retaining ring would seat the switch flat inside the tailcap.

    If you have an aluminum or brass retaining ring, there is no need to solder a tab – just screw it in. You must be careful about the inner part of the retaining ring contacting the positive connection on the raised plastic below the contact spring – it will short out the switch and be “on” all the time. A piece of shrink tubing or electrical tape wrapped around it will prevent a short.

    Glow-in-the-Dark Silicone Tailcap

    Using that piece of brass also meant I had to remove the anodizing from the inside of the housing so the brass tab makes electrical contact with the side of the tailcap. With one mod that I did, I lost the lock out function, which “prevents accidental activation of light during tactical engagements, transportation, or storage,” according to Surefire. On another mod, the lock out still worked. In my case, I’m very unlikely to have a tactical engagement, so I can remove the batteries for transportation and storage.

    To bottom it off, I replaced the black rubber push button cover with a Glow-in-the-Dark Silicone Tailcap…maybe a not too tactical feature.

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