Modified Malkoff Devices M60 Drop-in

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

Cree MC-E P60 drop-in Mod

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.

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.

Malkoff M60 Mod

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

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.

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.