Malkoff M61 Mod

Malkoff Devices M61 Drop-in

I received my Malkoff 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 (NLA). The Cree XP-G 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. (Note: Malkoff Devices now makes a three mode M361 P60 style drop-in that has an input voltage of 3.4-6 volts)

Malkoff Drop-in for 3D Maglite

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.

Beamshots: Malkoff Drop-In Module (left), Maglite Krypton bulb (right)

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 $12.99.

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.

JETBeam RRT-0

I got a nice Black Friday deal on a JETBeam RRT-0 flashlight from the people at LightJunction.com. I read bondr006’s great review on Candlepowerforums and it looked like a really nice little light. The main feature of the JETBeam RRT series is the ability to adjust the brightness to different levels by turning the Rapid Response Control Ring at the base of the head.

The RRT-0 is also versatile because it can use 3.0V CR123 primary batteries, 16340 3.7V rechargeable Lithium batteries, 1.5V AA primary batteries, 1.2V AA rechargeable batteries and 14500 rechargeable Lithium batteries. The latter three require the AA extender, which adds a little more than a .6 inch (16 mm) to the 3.8 inches (97 mm) length.

I have a JETBeam Jet-I Pro I.B.S. flashlight, which is slightly smaller in size. The RRT-0 is a little larger in diameter because it can take CR123 batteries and a little longer, because of the rotary switch built into the body. I can also set a “lower” low level output on my Jet-I Pro. The RRT-0 also lacks a strobe mode – which I would probably only use if I was lost in the mountains at night needing air rescue. But I could always use the forward clicky switch for signaling.

JETBeam claims an output of 240 lumens. I have not seen independent confirmation of these numbers, but my RRT-0 (with the SMO reflector) certainly looks close to my Malkoff M60 drop-in. In laymen terms, Surefire describes 200 lumens as ten times the light of a big two-D-cell flashlight. For a flashlight this size, the JETBeam RRT-0 puts out a lot of light.

From JETBeam:

Model: RRT-0
Specially designed for Military, Law Enforcement, Self-defense, Hunting, Search & Rescue and Outdoorsman
The Rapid Response Control Ring allows the user to easily select different brightness level
Five levels of brightness to choose
Optional low / lower low mode
Stainless steel rapid response control ring, very reliable and durable
Stainless steel bezels protect the head and tail cap from drops and impacts
Stainless steel crenulated bezel can be used as a glass breaker or defensive tool
CREE R2 LED,
Max output reaches 240 lumens with an effective range of 200 meters
New dual curve reflector specially designed for CREE LED, which allows for better beam quality, efficiency and throw capability
Newly designed high efficiency broad voltage drive circuit
Compatible with both CR123 and RCR123 rechargeable Li-ion batteries
Floating positive end, designed for better contact
Built-in intelligent Li-ion rechargeable batteries protection circuit
Tailstand
Impact-resistant accords with US MIL-STD-810F
IPX 8 standard waterproof

Dimension: Head/Tail diameter 25.4mm; Body diameter 20.5mm; Length 97mm.
Weight: 86g

Output & Runtime:
Using CR123 Battery
High Mode 240 Lumens, 45 min
Daily Mode 50 Lumens, 7.5 hours
Mid Mode 25 Lumens, 12 hours
Low Mode 10 Lumens, 20 hours
Lower Low Mode 1 Lumen, 100 hours

Using AA Battery
High Mode 180 Lumens, 45 min
Daily Mode 50 Lumens, 5 hours
Mid Mode 25 Lumens, 10 hours
Low Mode 10 Lumens, 15 hours
Lower Low Mode 1 Lumen, 80 hours

6AA to 2D

Fivemega 6AA to 2DD Battery Adapter

When I built my Roar of the Pelican, a Maglight 2D flashlight modified to be really bright, I used two cheap 3AA to 1D adapters. I needed 6 AA NiMH batteries to make 7.2 V to power the bi-pin incandescent bulb.

I’d read warnings about some cheap battery adapters not being able to handle the high current, so I bought the beautifully engineered Fivemega 6AA to 2D adapter.

The negative end of the adapter fits inside the spring in the Maglite tail cap. The adapter also has a charging jack that takes a 5 mm coaxial DC power plug, so the pack doesn’t have to be disassembled to charge the batteries. Besides 6AA to 2D adapter, Fivemega makes a 9AA to 3D adapter and 3AA to 1D adapter, among other flashaholic things.