Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Modding a Ziplight with an LED

So I sold my E2D LED Defender in order to buy a new toy, and while I was without a light I happened upon a mint new-in-box Ziplight, of course I had to have it. This was at a recent gun show and earlier that day I had happened upon a Camel lighter with a cool vintage look which I had spent $15 on, I didn't want to spend another $25 on the Ziplight when I saw it so I asked the guy if he would trade expecting him to want cash on top, but he said ok to a straight trade. I noticed after I bought it that the Ziplight was an earlier version and had some gay looking butterflies over a gloss gray case, and then my Fiance stole the case before I could get it on the grinder to remove them.
 Anyways, back to this Ziplight;
I opened it up and the batteries were pretty corroded, I had to completely disassemble it, clean as much of the corrosion out as possible, and put it back together.
Left to Right: Regular insert, Ziplight, Modded 4GB insert, and another Regular insert 
The Ziplight stayed like that for about 2 days before I found a small button cell light at Radio Shack and decided to upgrade. The 5mm LED in the light gave off a slightly cool tint but it wasn't too bad and was actually surprisingly bright, when I got home I immediately ripped it apart and made a wiring diagram in my head of how I was going to do this.
The insert is rather easy to take apart, I used my Leatherman's blade and my Swiss Army Knife's screwdriver/file to crack it open.
 Now at this point I had already cleaned it up and tossed the batteries so I was left with an empty case, so I made sure the LED would fit.
 The switch is pretty simple, yet clever. It uses 4 pieces of copper (2 top and 2 bottom), the two on the top connect to the LED (bulb if it's still incan), and the two on the bottom connect to the battery and switch, the switch uses 2 parts, the left bottom connects to the red rocker in the top right and the right bottom contacts the case. I simply connected the right side terminals together with some wire and ran the left top to +battery then -battery to the left bottom and taped the battery connections while just wrapping the wires to the terminals. I would have preferred soldering but I couldn't get it to work so I gave up.
This method was far from pretty but you'll never see it and it works fine
 It took me 3 hours to get the connections tight enough for a good solid current to go through them. Once completed I shut off all the lights and cleaned up using just the light it now gave off. The light is significantly dimmer than the low on my E2D was but still bright enough to use, which was pretty much exactly what I wanted.
 To be honest this shot is not how it is now, I messed with the wiring to dim it down for this, but you get to see how it sits in the holder so I put it here.
I'm not done modding the case yet and I may engrave this one like the last Zippo, or throw in a brighter LED, fix the wiring, and upgrade the batteries even more... it depends. Now for a sneak preview:
I would love to be able to mod a Ziplight to blow other lights out of the water but at this point just the LED upgrade was good. I found out later that night that it made a great light to walk around a dark house with because it is low enough to not mess up night vision yet bright enough to navigate by.
 Here is a picture I just wanted to stick in showing an unmodified Ziplight, 2 regular inserts, and my 4GB flash drive insert.
 And here's the unmodified Ziplight in my other modded case, I just like this shot.

1 comment:

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