When I started thinking about writing this post in 2013, Malkoff Devices had just expanded their product line with a few LED conversions designed for use with Surefire E-series lights and Surefire Scout Light Weaponlights.
Now the Malkoff E-series/Scout light range spans nine heads from superthrow, high output heads to a specialized Bodyguard V2 head (with greater than 1000 lumens for 10 seconds) and a three mode LiIon rechargeable battery powered head.
My early E2/Scout head has an input voltage of 3.4-9 volts. I run it on a Vital Gear FB1 or my Surefire E1B with a RCR123 battery. I compared it to my Malkoff M61 in a VME Malkoff Valiant Concepts Head, which is also designed for an input voltage of 3.4 to 9 volts. My M61 uses a Cree XP-G LED, compared with the current M61 which uses the XP-G2. The M61 has a slightly larger hotspot and in my sample while the E2/Scout head’s beam was slightly more neutral.
Currently, I carry a Vital Gear FB1 or Surefire E1B with the Malkoff MDC LMH. With three modes (15 lumens/80 lumens/400 lumens), the LMH is a little more versatile. It’s also slimmer than the Valiant head with the M61 and I can carry it clipped inside my front pants pocket.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Before I reassembled the drop-in, I wiped some hazing off the reflector with some chrome polish and inadvertently removed some of the reflective finish. I needed a new reflector.
I searched for reflectors for the Cree XP-G and found positive comments about Don McLeish’s McR-20 Seoul reflector. I ordered one from the Sandwich Shoppe and it was delivered in 2 days.
There is a recess around the top of the M61 heat sink that the top of the stock reflector sits in – that’s the flat part of the reflector. I put a GITD (Glow In The Dark) O-ring in the recess and it held the McR-20S reflector perfectly. The new LED is mounted on a thinner circuit board than the Malkoff board, which in this case helps with the reflector placement. The bottom of the reflector (with a thin insulator) rests on the LED board. The other end of the reflector is flush with the end of the heat sink.
The beam is very nice. Compared to a M60 or M30, there is less of a hot spot and more spill. The stock M61, IIRC, didn’t have as much of a hot spot compared to the McR-20S.
So far in this mod, I have destroyed the Malkoff M61 driver board and damaged the reflector. But now I’m happy with a drop-in that has a great heat sink, a great beam and three modes. It’s now in my current favorite flashlight, the Surefire C2.