Malkoff Devices MDC HA LMH Li-ion Rechargeable Head

Malkoff Devices MDC HA Head on Vital Gear FB1 body

I’ve been using a Veleno Designs E-Series (3 mode, neutral white) tower module on a Vital Gear FB1 body as my EDC. When Malkoff Devices came out with a three mode, RCR123 compatible head, I thought it would be a better light for me than the Veleno setup. The Veleno’s neutral white looks green to me.

The Malkoff Devices MDC HA LMH Li-ion Rechargeable Head has a light orange peel reflector designed by Don McLeish. The beam profile is similar to the Malkoff M31 and M61 drop-ins with a large center hotspot and nice spill. The are three modes: 15 lumens, 80 lumens and 400 lumens. The MDC is noticeably brighter than the Veleno head, and has a cooler (6200K) Cree XP-G2 LED.

This setup is just 3 3/8″ (86mm) long and the largest diameter of the head is 1″ (25.4mm). It fits unobtrusively in a pocket. Compared to a Surefire E-B Backup body with the Malkoff MDC head, this combination is about 1/2″ (13mm) shorter.

Modified Malkoff Devices M60 Drop-in

Modified Malkoff Devices M60 with 8xAMC7135 (2.8A) multi-mode driverMalkoff 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 (2.8A) and Illumination Supply (3.04A)
McGizmo McR20J (Joker) Reflector

Cree LED Light Bulb

Cree LED Light BulbI’m a big fan of Cree LEDs. I use them in almost all my flashlights. Last month, a Cree LED light bulb was introduced that replaces a 60 watt incandescent bulb. (Cree Press Release) The bulb retails for $12.97.

Specifications from Cree:

  • 9.5 Watts (84% less energy)
  • 800 Lumens brightness
  • 25,000 Hour rated lifetime
  • $1.14* Annual energy cost
  • Lifetime savings: $139*
  • Warm color temperature: 2,700K
  • Lights instantly, omni-directional
  • Mercury free
  • Safety-coated glass
  • Dimmable
  • 10-Year Limited Warranty
  • UL damp rated
  • Fits most lamps
  • Diameter: 2.4 inches
  • Length: 4.6 inches

*Cree’s calculation of $1.14 yearly operating cost is based on 3 hours/day and $0.11 per kWh. Cree’s lifetime savings calculation is based on $0.11 per kWh when compared to 60W incandescent and 25,000 hour lifetime.

It seems that the Cree LED Light Bulb is only available so far from Home Depot. I bought my bulb online from Home Depot and with $1.17 sales s surprised that the light bulb’s envelope felt like it had a rubber coating. It has a standard North American Edison screw E26 socket. I replaced a 15W warm compact fluorescent bulb (CFL) that was in a table lamp with the Cree LED Light Bulb. The LED seems brighter.Cree LED Light Bulb Packaging

When I removed the lamp shade to photograph the bulb, I noticed that the bulb was hot enough so that I couldn’t hold it – so despite consuming only 9.5 watts, it still gets very hot. There is a heat sink around the base of the envelope.

When I photographed the illuminated bulb, I set the camera’s color balance for daylight, so the yellow color of the light reflecting off the wall in the background is a good representation of what it looks like to the human eye.

For the chart below I used the following cost assumptions:
Incandescent bulbs: GE 60-Watt Reveal A19 General Purpose Incandescent Light Bulb (6-Pack) $8.77 ($1.46/bulb, 1000 hour life)

CFL bulbs: Feit Electric 15 Watt ( Mini Twist Dimmable Light Bulb (12-Pack) $104 ($8.67/bulb, 8,000 hour life)

LED bulb: Cree 9.5-Watt A19 Warm White (2700K) LED Light Bulb (1-Pack) ($12.97 25,000 hour life)

Cost of electricity from PG&E, about $0.13/kWh.

To get 25,000 hours with a 60 watt incandescent bulb, you would need 25 of them, at a cost of $36.50. The cost of 4 CFL bulbs for 25,000 is $34.68. The cost of the Cree LED bulb for 25,000 hours is $12.97.

There’s no question about the cost savings of the LED bulb versus incandescent. Total cost for 60 watt incandescent bulbs for 25,000 hours is $231.50. Total cost for 15 watt CFL bulbs for 25,000 hours is $83.43. Total cost for a 9.5 watt LED bulb for 25,000 hours is $43.85.

People who want to keep using incandescent bulbs may not be able to do the math or maybe they’re using them to keep their popcorn warm.

Incandescent vs CFL vs LED Cost Comparison

Surefire Z32 Bezel

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.