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View Poll Results: Please rate your interest in HD-M6

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  • ho hum

    7 8.75%
  • now wer're talking

    6 7.50%
  • waiting for the final prototype

    33 41.25%
  • paypal locked and loaded

    34 42.50%
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Thread: AWR Hotdriver Regulated M6 Battery Pack

  1. #1
    *Flashaholic* andrewwynn's Avatar
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    Default AWR Hotdriver Regulated M6 Battery Pack

    The prototype is operational..


    Here's a picture.

    The rest of the album is here

    The sales thread is now open here


    A step at a time.. i only made it voltage regulate to 6.8V for starters because it is a bit tedious to get the current limiting working, but voila! it works just as designed!

    Some bad news.. the space is exttreeeeemly tight.. i have to find out the length on the cells i'm going to procure but it might mean i can't do the swappable driver board.. i think that adds 1.8mm and that just won't fit.. I do have a backup plan to get another 1-2mm.. if it didn't bother you that the tailcap would not be screwed on as far (still both o-rings would seal and you would not see them, but when 'locked out' you would likely see the o-ring groove.

    I have to work on other stuff for a bit, but expect to get the current limiting (so you can swap between HOLA and LOLA w/o changing settings)..

    So i need to get some feedback for demand, also interest for the swappable battery pack (one driver, two packs, etc), so please take the poll.. pricing will depend a little bit on demand.. need some quantity discount for the metal machine work.

    The pack will run the HOLA lamp for about 35 minutes, God only knows how long on the LOLA..... long.

    Oh.. some might not like this.. but the button is FAR easier to operate.. you can have it near 'lockout' and it still takes a good throw and decent effort to turn on, but if you have it nearly locked on.. feather touch will turn on the lamp.

    -awr
    Last edited by andrewwynn; 04-21-2006 at 04:30 PM.


    Regulated hotwire 'the hotdriver' also for Surefire M6 • 3-level high-power LED drop-in for mag. the 'BAM!' click here
    I have disabled PMs.. use the 'email' link instead! • Genesis 1:3 And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light...

  2. #2

    Default Re: AWR Hotdriver Regulated M6 Battery Pack

    Andrew,

    I had hoped to get an extra tailcap but Surefire keeps repeating "4-6 weeks" every four to six weeks. I would still be interested as long as the tailcap mod is easily reversible.

    Also, will the production pack be wrapped, sealed and beta-tested?

    Brightnorm

  3. #3
    Flashaholic* petrev's Avatar
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    Popcorn Re: AWR Hotdriver Regulated M6 Battery Pack

    Hi Andrew

    Brilliant to see the first prototype already.

    Can't work out your assembly/wiring if the centre bar is solid all the way through ?

    Patented slip contact - BodyNeg (and head outer ring ?)
    Batt Pos at tail copper disk

    Then ? ? ?
    Body/Batt Neg in via tail switch to centre rod ?
    and
    Bulb Pos out at head from centre rod ?

    Hmmm - I'm missing something - but looks awesome and it fits, and more to the point, it works

    Brilliantly Done

    Ta Pete


    Edit
    ps. Looked at the photos further . . .

    Is this it ? centre rod - Bulb pos
    and
    Little white wire - switched neg in from tailcap (somehow) ?

    or am I still missing something - Cheers Pete
    Last edited by petrev; 04-11-2006 at 05:25 AM.

  4. #4
    *Flashaholic* wquiles's Avatar
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    Default Re: AWR Hotdriver Regulated M6 Battery Pack

    Good job Andrew !!!

    Have you received my M6 in the mail already?

    Will
    Please no PM/Visitor Msg's. Email for questions/Paypal: wquiles [at] gmail {dot} com. Please visit my new website.

  5. #5
    Flashaholic nuggett's Avatar
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    Default Re: AWR Hotdriver Regulated M6 Battery Pack

    Swappable driver is not that important to me, I would rather the cap fit well.
    I have an M6 and use it all the time, cant wait for this amazing pack!
    So the cap button is touchy? It can be locked out, correct? But when unlocked, its a hair trigger?
    Last edited by nuggett; 04-11-2006 at 08:01 AM.

  6. #6

    Default Re: AWR Hotdriver Regulated M6 Battery Pack

    Andrew, I am very interested in your regulated HDM6. My preference is for the swappable battery pack. And I would not like to have to modify my existing tailcap, so I will need one of yours.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: AWR Hotdriver Regulated M6 Battery Pack

    6.8V? Seems a bit low, though I haven't tested the stock pack voltage under load. Have you compared output to high quality, fresh CR123's?

    Paypal locked and loaded.

  8. #8
    Flashaholic* cnjl3's Avatar
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    Default Re: AWR Hotdriver Regulated M6 Battery Pack

    I am definitely interested in your M6 solution. I have an M6 which is collecting dust and I sure would like to use it more often. I remember you said that it would be producing about 600 lumens. i would prefer a switchable battery pack and i will buy one of your tail cap assembly-is your tail cap modification the same as wquiles?

  9. #9
    Flashaholic* WAVE_PARTICLE's Avatar
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    Default Re: AWR Hotdriver Regulated M6 Battery Pack

    I'm in.....

  10. #10

    Default Re: AWR Hotdriver Regulated M6 Battery Pack

    Quote Originally Posted by elnino
    ...And I would not like to have to modify my existing tailcap, so I will need one of yours.
    Andrew,

    I didn't realize you had extra tailcaps. In that case, after you have established the reliability and safety of this mod, I'm in.

    Brightnorm
    Last edited by brightnorm; 04-11-2006 at 11:24 AM.

  11. #11
    Flashaholic* nethiker's Avatar
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    Default Re: AWR Hotdriver Regulated M6 Battery Pack

    Hi Andrew,

    I'm certainly interested.

    As soon as I have my Nano I will look forward to your next project, but not before.
    ~Greg

    "Today is a gift. That's why it's called the present."
    -Unknown

  12. #12
    *Flashaholic* andrewwynn's Avatar
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    Default Re: AWR Hotdriver Regulated M6 Battery Pack

    brightnorm.. it will take only seconds to swap the tail cup out of a stock tailcap in-fact i just added a feature to make it even easier (since though it's easy to pull out the stock one.. the new one was reaaaally hard to pull out.. nothing to grab onto!).. glad i had that prototype made.. talk about doding a bullet!

    Yes the production packs will be shrink-wrapped and since it'll take about an extra month to get the metal part you'll need the packs will have about an extra month so i'll be able to get some serious testing (besides the first prototype and a couple more that will be made from the rougher hand-modified version).

    Petrev, the center bar is a solid rod, it is the Lamp+ conducftor.. to convert the hotdriver to work in the M6, the ground path for the lamp is cut (trace on the pcb) and the FET is moved out of the way a little bit.. then only the lamp+ remains in the center, the rod conducts power to the lamp.

    The slip-contact is the ground.. i think you assumed that the batteries are + in, they are negative in.

    The copper disk against the PCB is Bat+.. there is a contact pad on the back of the PCB that makes contact with the copper disk (the insulation on the copper disk is cut in one spot to make contact).

    The 'little white wire' is just the 'makeshift' solution.. it would be a spring contact similar to the ground path contact.

    How it works: the battery pack is grounded all the time to the body with the sliding contact. The pack fits tight against the tailcup, which will act as a heat sink for the FET since it actually touches. (i cheated on the prototype to use that hair wire to also make the ground contact for the tailcup).. The tailcup only makes contact with the body when the button is pressed or the tailcap is screwed on.

    The bulb spring is actually what makes it work.. the battery pack moves a mm or so with the tailcap.. just like with the original stock M6 (the battery pack floats between two springs and moves in /out just a bit while you are working the tailcap.. i might have room for an actual spring on the back depending on the final arangment (if i can get the extra space to make the driver swappable).

    Wquiles.. that *is* your M6 in the pictures! check your email.

    nugget.. best of all worlds.

    1) absoutely the LOTC works as it's supposed to
    2) only 'touchy' if you decide you want it.

    Basiccally it has 4 modes:

    1) locked out
    2) normal operation.. long press of the button.. maybe 1/2 the old force
    3) hair-trigger.. where the tailcup is almost touching.. takes so little force to turn on that setting down on a table will cause a 'blink'.
    4) Locked on.

    elnino.. i'm going to sell the pack with the tailcup exclusively.. the only advantage for somebody to modify their own tailcup would be they could maybe get their pack a month earlier.

    CM.. 6.8 was an arbitrary test voltage.. i'm pretty sure that's what is the recommended dose for the HOLA lamp, and what JS uses for his M6-R.. not my lamp, no intentions of blowing it up... that is the voltage for the HOLA, not the LOLA.. the setting will be more like 7.2 for the LOLA which .. yes it could be brighter that is the 'average' voltage from what i understand but i'm using a 7.2V pack so that's what i got.. it'll be a hellova lot brighter than running it at 6.8 if i were to use strictly voltage limiting.

    The reality is.. that the voltage won't be limited on the HOLA if phase 2 goes properly.. the plan is to make it regulate to current for the HOLA at about 4.9A.. the voltage will just work itself out to about 6.8-6.9V.. and regulate to voltage to 7.2V when the LOLA is installed... completely automatic.

    The output will kick the snot out of CR123s. It might look 'about the same' for 0-minute-old CR123s.. it will blow away 1 minute old 123s.

    I might be convinced to make an 'extra hot' version for people willing to trade bulb life for brightness.. but it's not really worth it.. the light will be brighter than you've ever seen it with this pack compared to toss away cells.

    LOL cnjl3.. wquiles made his tailcap from my computer model of the one i will be having machined.

    There is a very small chance that i can't get away with constant current limiting, the o-scope will reveal all.. but the testing earlier was very positive that it will work out just fine.. if i can't make it work at both 7.2V and 6.8V automatically.. i have two options..

    1) scrap LOLA operation and just set up for the HOLA. (or i would of course make one for just LOLA for somebody that only used LOLA.. they can always put the MB20 back in to run the HOLA.
    2) put in a switch to change between HOLA and LOLA.. but that's a bit risky.. left on the LOLA setting it will most certainly blow a HOLA.

    Updates through the week.. might not be able to get to the next step for a few days.

    -awr


    Regulated hotwire 'the hotdriver' also for Surefire M6 • 3-level high-power LED drop-in for mag. the 'BAM!' click here
    I have disabled PMs.. use the 'email' link instead! • Genesis 1:3 And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light...

  13. #13
    Flashaholic* petrev's Avatar
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    Default Re: AWR Hotdriver Regulated M6 Battery Pack

    Hi Andrew

    Yes - mostly as per my PS. now that I see the FET is taller than the centre rod it all makes sense ( that was what had me confused - Honest)

    Great Work

    Pete

  14. #14
    *Flashaholic* LuxLuthor's Avatar
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    Default Re: AWR Hotdriver Regulated M6 Battery Pack

    QUOTE=brightnorm Andrew,

    I had hoped to get an extra tailcap but Surefire keeps repeating "4-6 weeks" every four to six weeks. I would still be interested as long as the tailcap mod is easily reversible.

    Also, will the production pack be wrapped, sealed and beta-tested?

    Brightnorm /QUOTE
    Maybe I'm being too jaded, but if I look at it from SF's perspective, you have to assume SF is monitoring this thread, and thinking how it may impact their 123a sales...and how providing a flurry of M6 tailcaps will negatively impact their 123a sales. It ties in with the coincidence of no delivery date of MN-20 (60 min run time with 123a's) bulbs being available, and the recent hefty 123a price hike.

  15. #15
    *Flashaholic* andrewwynn's Avatar
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    Default Re: AWR Hotdriver Regulated M6 Battery Pack

    That goes a little too far into conspiracy theory.. it is quite amazing, however that the MN20 lights have been MIA for waaaay too long.. there is no valid reason for a corporation as big as SF to have such a delay on such a product. The only thing that i can think of that would be an acceptable excuse is if they are developing a more economical solution like a IRC bulb that would last longer.

    I personally think there is a 'status quo' situation going on more than anything with the M6.. if they can sell them and the batteires, and make $ at it, there is no motivational forces within to make them make the likes of the M6-R.. they SHOULD have from the onset. There is virtually ZERO benefit from using throw away batteries.

    LiON tech is easier and cheaper in every single way. It is NOT easier or cheaper or more reliable to have a bunch of batteries in the truck.. it would be far easier and far cheaper to have 2 or three of the likes of the HDM6 charged up and ready to go in the truck.. you'd have 6x the runtime available and not have to worry about changing cells all the time.. they stay charged for MONTHS, so big deal.. maintenence would be far less than swapping the cells.

    Oh.. petrev.. the center rod wouldn't touch anything anyhow.. there is a hole up inside the tailcup in the center.

    -awr


    Regulated hotwire 'the hotdriver' also for Surefire M6 • 3-level high-power LED drop-in for mag. the 'BAM!' click here
    I have disabled PMs.. use the 'email' link instead! • Genesis 1:3 And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light...

  16. #16
    *Flashaholic* CLHC's Avatar
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    Default Re: AWR Hotdriver Regulated M6 Battery Pack

    Looking forward to it with keen anticipation!
    LUX'Ottica

  17. #17
    *Flashaholic* andrewwynn's Avatar
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    Default Re: AWR Hotdriver Regulated M6 Battery Pack

    keeps getting better and better.. i just read this from emilion's website:

    Quote Originally Posted by emilion
    Our test shows that the DLG 17500's capacity has reached 1260mah under 2A current draw.
    So.. wow! we will only be pulling 1.63A so this bodes VERY well for the HDM6..
    1260 means nearly a 3.8AH pack.. how often do cells deliver more than rated capacity? Now i wouln't go assuming your cells will pull more than rated, but some of the cells pulled from the pipeline going into this have.. this would net you about 45 minutes with HOLA! that is incredible!

    More good news.. the swappable board is a sure thing. I have 2mm to spare in the current design, which should give me enough room to use protected cells, and gobs of spare room to fit the unprotected cells... before 'going to press' i will of course get the final length of the protected cells.. i'm thinking.. that if can't fit the protected cells *and* the swappable pack.. i will have the option of having the raw cells with swappable driver or the fixed driver and protected cells.

    I will point out that the driver offers the protection against over discharge.. and as long as you recognize the cells are going bad by the loss of runtime and replace them before they go completely dead, you should not have a problem from using raw cells.

    I had to make a minor change in the design.. the ground sweep contact will be moved to the driver and there will be a solid rod going from the bottom 'neg' pad on the bottom.. turns out that only disconnecting the driver ground interferes with the low-voltage cutout.. bummer that i need to have that extra wire but i had expected to use that extra wire to run power up from the inside when i had the batteries positive in. It will be a 10ga solid copper wire so there will be absolutely negligable loss.. that works out to about 0.3mohm of resistance.

    So.. disaster aveted... when i put in the low-voltage ckt and it disabled the startup i was not too happy.. i hate hiccups like that! (the light would run just fine if i turned it on before putting into the lamp.. but if i switched the ground off and on it wouldn't light up... aaaaaahhhh!

    That could have easily been a 2-3 week delay and i solved it in under 2 hrs... extremely good news.

    Also.. i like the idea of the sweeping contact being on the driver vs the pack (though i do have to solder a 10ga wire to the disc on the bottom of the pack).. that'll be the most tedius part of assembly.

    So.. 'game on'.. i'll get the prototype retrofitted to the new design within a couple of days.. once i get the go-ahead on the cells and know how long they are and that the'll fit.. i'll be ready to open up an orderline.

    "I love it when a plan comes together".

    The idea of using the lamp spring for the action just came to me as the space got so tight that there really wasn't an option.. i still was considering to put in a tailcap spring of some sort but this thing is working flawlessly without any spring in the back.

    The plan is to make the hole in the tailcup the right size that should you need to use the MB20 you can just put in a replacement spring that is a bit longer than stock.. i will source some of said springs.. i have some really nice silver coated springs i get for a buck from sandwich shoppe that should be perfect. i just need to machine a nice groove that they will snap into into the tailcup... so for 'backup' use keep the MB20 and that spring taped to it in your glovebox or whatever.. you won't have to swap out the part just to use primary cells.

    Here is where the 'really decent guy' of me comes in.. the PIR is a lot thicker than the hotdriver.. it would be exceptionally easy to make that replacement part too short to be of any use with somebody wanting to use the PIR in an M6, but i'm taking into consideration how i would be able to use the PIR in an M6.. I would probably have to cut a hole in the positive copper disc to put that tall part on the non-FET side and almost certainly will have to replace the FET with a D2PAK, other than that i's just a matter of figuring out how to wire it up.. and i think petrev already figured it out.. very similar to the HDM6, just reversed the + and - are opposite since on PIR the FET is 'downstream' of the lamp.

    So.. that's good news for PIR guys as well. I promised i'd be kind when it came to helping get PIR into an M6... it won't make it a 'cake walk'.. w/o re-doing the PIR it will be tricky to get the battery pack solution.. it really need a 2.6mm hole in the dead-center and a 6mm clearing around the hole for a nut on at least one side. Some clever moving of the FET (copy the hotdriver) and it's definitely doable!

    Off to the lab.. nano switch day today.

    -awr


    Regulated hotwire 'the hotdriver' also for Surefire M6 • 3-level high-power LED drop-in for mag. the 'BAM!' click here
    I have disabled PMs.. use the 'email' link instead! • Genesis 1:3 And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light...

  18. #18
    Flashaholic*
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    Default Re: AWR Hotdriver Regulated M6 Battery Pack

    As far as the SF conspiracy theory - one must also consider that there are many of ethusiasts who have *NOT* bought a M6 due to the battery issue and not having an easy way to make it rechargable (most of my SF's are using rechargables). Plus it is not like Andrew is going to be producing these packs in any quanity that SF would even care about.

    In regards to SF bulb availability - remember there is a war going on!

    Finally Andrew I am very interested in this project of yours. I hope it becomes possible to design it so that the circuit can be used with battery packs to control costs. Once you have an inventory of these packs, I will buy my M6 and your battery pack. Good luck!

  19. #19
    *Flashaholic* andrewwynn's Avatar
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    Default Re: AWR Hotdriver Regulated M6 Battery Pack

    great point about where those MN20s likely are!

    My pack requires an M6.. if i make 10,000 of them, SF should be happy as hell to sell 10,000 M6s.. they can't loose.. just like the BAM!.. needs a Maglite host.. mag has nothing to lose.

    Not to worry.. looks like i solved the issue of swapping the driver board... it's really clever too i can't wait to get it operational with the swappable model.

    It is 0.7mm taller to have the swappable version.. and i have 2mm to spare with raw cells with the current design.. so if the protected cells are less than 0.65mm taller each i'm good to go with either protc. or raw cells.

    -awr


    Regulated hotwire 'the hotdriver' also for Surefire M6 • 3-level high-power LED drop-in for mag. the 'BAM!' click here
    I have disabled PMs.. use the 'email' link instead! • Genesis 1:3 And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light...

  20. #20

    Default Re: AWR Hotdriver Regulated M6 Battery Pack

    Please count me in for at least 2 . I prefer to make my tailcups, especially if it means receiving them faster .

    This is gonna be fantastic !!!

    Thanks.

  21. #21

    Default Re: AWR Hotdriver Regulated M6 Battery Pack

    I'm in
    I'm glad it is dark, half of the time.

  22. #22
    Flashaholic* dizzy's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Re: AWR Hotdriver Regulated M6 Battery Pack

    I am "in" as well. Thanks for all your hard work.
    The beatings will continue until morale improves!!!!

  23. #23
    *Flashaholic* andrewwynn's Avatar
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    Default Re: AWR Hotdriver Regulated M6 Battery Pack

    I can probably make a deal to sell w/o tailcup, but probably not really at a reduced cost.. the quantity is key to get the price reasonable for everybody, kind of like insurance, however i can show you the specs to lathe your own to save some time, definitely a few weeks.

    The testing went very well for the current-limiting startup, very cool news, and i figured out a better way to install the pack, so that there are back to 'look ma, no wires'.. and even another benefit.. since the driver will now be on the inside near the head, it means that it's more protected and also that the lamp current no longer runs through the center rod (less power lost on that rod).

    I haven't gotten the length spec for the prot. cells yet, and i have to fine-tune the current limiting for the MN21.. i was just doing testing so far with 1111 and 1185, those are indestructible at 7.2V.

    -awr


    Regulated hotwire 'the hotdriver' also for Surefire M6 • 3-level high-power LED drop-in for mag. the 'BAM!' click here
    I have disabled PMs.. use the 'email' link instead! • Genesis 1:3 And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light...

  24. #24
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    Default Re: AWR Hotdriver Regulated M6 Battery Pack

    I like everything that I've heard thus far. Been a while since I've been hyped up over a mod

  25. #25
    *Flashaholic* andrewwynn's Avatar
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    Default Re: AWR Hotdriver Regulated M6 Battery Pack

    well i can tell you that it sure made the M6 'fun'.. peopole will sure use them a lot more when they cost $3/hr vs $33/hr to operate.. guilt-free photons.

    -awr


    Regulated hotwire 'the hotdriver' also for Surefire M6 • 3-level high-power LED drop-in for mag. the 'BAM!' click here
    I have disabled PMs.. use the 'email' link instead! • Genesis 1:3 And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light...

  26. #26

    Default Re: AWR Hotdriver Regulated M6 Battery Pack

    I'll give Surefire this--they have historically designed their products around their target market, the military and law enforcement. They don't generally compromise for other customers, though I have seen some loosening up with the clicky tailcap issue.

    There are many valid reasons within the military, and to a lesser extent, law enforcement to keep things simple with standard disposable batteries. Low cost and reusing/recycling things away have never been priorities for the military! And SteveC (CPFer) a cop who worked the New Orleans area after the hurricane said rechargeable lights, like the Stinger, worked exactly once and then never again, since power was not available to recharge the batteries. Granted, this was a rare event, but it is the rare events that we prepare for. Having your Stinger die (with no backup light) on the side of a mountain is a right of passage in my agency.

    I think rechargeable packs for the M6 are a great idea and it's why I got my M6-R. I don't see Surefire as trying to make a huge profit on an off-the-wall commodity like camera batteries. I just see them as having only limited interest in the much larger general consumer market. I mean, this company makes combat knives, rifle suppressors, rifle forends, lasers, weaponlights and offers tactical training to LEOs only.

  27. #27
    *Flashaholic* andrewwynn's Avatar
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    Default Re: AWR Hotdriver Regulated M6 Battery Pack

    In my version of 'the right way to do things'.. you would have a charging station in your truck.. even in the katrina event.. people had vehicles.. hell if you really needed a charge you could pull a battery out of a flooded car.. i'm sure plenty would have worked. I just don't buy into the concept of that somehow it's easier to procure 100s and 1000s of batteries than plug in a charger.. consdering that in the military.. hummers are everywhere! had they gone the rechargeable route.. put a button on to find out the current charge state of the battery.. and those cells would be like tic-tacs.. people could each have two packs and they would be completely interchangeable.. a very good case of inefficient use of resources.. the only case for throwaway batteries is where a light has little use. If a soldier only uses an M6 1 minute/day.. he should be using primary cells.

    I have come to the conclusion that the lack of rechargeable pack for the M6 really was not much more than a simple planning decision where it was determined not worth the time and effort.. bottom line sort of thing.. it works exactly how they designed it, and have other bigger fish to fry so why re-invent it?

    Good for me, at least i hope so.

    -awr


    Regulated hotwire 'the hotdriver' also for Surefire M6 • 3-level high-power LED drop-in for mag. the 'BAM!' click here
    I have disabled PMs.. use the 'email' link instead! • Genesis 1:3 And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light...

  28. #28

    Default Re: AWR Hotdriver Regulated M6 Battery Pack

    Andrew,

    In a more perfect world, especially outside wasteful inefficient government bureaucracies, there would be little need for wasteful and environmentally harmful disposable batteries.

    Here was my first semi-hypothetical scenario. CIA, Air Force forward air controllers and Green Berets are on the ground in Afghanistan in 12/2001. They are using Surefire M6 (rechargeable prototype) and Inova X5 flashlights with some IR lights for use with the goggles. They are living in a camp with the Northern Alliance and moving by horseback. They request resupply of flashlight batteries by a parachute drop.

    Somewhere in Tajikistan, a supply sergeant has not kept the rechargeable M6 battery packs plugged into the wall and ready to go. He unplugged them for his TV, X-box, DVD player and boom box. Whoops. He isn't overly diligent. The C-5 is fueling on the tarmac and he doesn't have time, so he loads up a crate of CR123s and solves his immediate problem. Time for a beer from his mini refrigerator!

    The guys in Afghanistan are happy because the 123s go in the Inova and the M6. Interoperability. Would be nice if the night vision goggles and satellite radio worked with them too, but you can't have everything.

    Anyway, here's an example from my life. I go into the armory and request a Maxabeam spotlight. After some grumbling about what exactly I'm talking about, I point it out. The battery is sitting in the case, having never been charged. I recommend that some of these lights be kept charged and get a reply like, "Yeah, good idea. Somebody ought to do that." It never is. So, I run the battery charger to my cigarette lighter of my vehicle while I still have daylight. I smell burning plastic and pull the charging plug out. The plug has melted down. That Maxa now cannot be recharged in a vehicle until it gets a replacement plug. It never will.

    Keeping equipment batteries charged gets a little harder the further you get from civilization. Since most people only have one charger, it makes charging multiple batteries a bit tricky, especially if you have to be somewhere else. Also, you have multiple pieces of equipment competing for the car battery--laptop computers, cell phone chargers. I have noticed that vehicles blow cigarette lighter fuses frequently when charging things.

    These are esoteric concerns, perhaps, and can be dealt with in one way or another. After all, my walkie talkie battery is rechargeable. I'm not sure how the cops in New Orleans dealt with that.

  29. #29
    *Flashaholic* andrewwynn's Avatar
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    Default Re: AWR Hotdriver Regulated M6 Battery Pack

    all good stuff.. i'll have you note.. that literally at this very second i'm fine-tuning the tailcup on the HDM6 to accept a long spring that will let you use the MB20 as a backup in case of situations like you describe. I find it very curious that people have *no problem* dealing with keeping their cell phone charged.. 'defense rests'. :-D

    back on topic.. so the test went extremely well for the current/voltage limit.. i'm going to have to fine-tune the low-voltage cutout solution for the HDM6.. since the shutdown voltage based on the 92% forumula shuts off the light about exactly at the running level of the HOLA.. it probably would work but it will give fits, so i'm working on a different solution using a bit of a patch that will let me dial in a shut down voltage.. the current tester works like this.. when the voltage drops to the shutdown voltage.. the light will dramatically dim.. like 80% drop in output.. like a 'brown out'. Unfortunately when it gets to that state it will still be drawing some considerable current, so it's not a 'hands free' solution.. you will want to turn off the light relatively soon after the light does into 'i'm done' mode..

    There is a chance i'll get the chip from the BAM! on the vTwo of the hotdriver, not sure if there is time or space for it.. but it would let me set the shutdown voltage independent of operational voltage.. obviously it's nice, but the 92% rule works better most of the time.. it's far more complicated to deal with the extra setting, but for the HDM6 i will be definitely doing this since the two-bulb situation throws a wrinkle in the normal M.O.

    So.. anyhow.. the wires were too long on the bench to get things set exactly but i was able to absolutely do 'proof of concept'.. the thing works absoultely stunningly well! I was able to put the MN21 on and get about 5A and 6.8V to the lamp.. and with doing nothing other than changing to the MN20 lamp.. it bumped up to 7.2V and 2.5A.

    The MN21 soft-starts with a beautiful 's-curve' voltage ramp that takes about 300-400msec.. that might change a little bit when it's in the lamp and no 2' of wires.

    I will be hand-tweaking each driver to run at an appropriate level for the MN21 and the MN20 will be as high as i can effectively set it.. 7.2V is drop dead gorgeous.. even if it's more in the middle of the output of the toss-away cells.

    You can expect to see a BST open in the next 3 days.


    Regulated hotwire 'the hotdriver' also for Surefire M6 • 3-level high-power LED drop-in for mag. the 'BAM!' click here
    I have disabled PMs.. use the 'email' link instead! • Genesis 1:3 And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light...

  30. #30
    *Flashaholic* andrewwynn's Avatar
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    Default Re: AWR Hotdriver Regulated M6 Battery Pack

    OK.. got the chip worked into the design for low-voltage cutout.. i traded the space for the op-amp used for the high-temp cutout since it's a moot point with the M6 solution since the worst-case power dissipation is not high enough to cause a problem, and will install an incredible little chip for low-voltage setting.. it enables a deeper draw on the batteries, and you'll actually get to see dimming to know the batteries are going low before shutdown (probably not much of a warning,, maybe a minute, but it will be there!).

    The circuit board is final.. the 'vTwo' of the hotdriver. I will make a write up in BST either tonight or tomorrow opening up a pre-sale for the HDM6. I have the parts list close enough that i will be able to set the prices, and unless there is some big change in the cost of batteries, i don't expect any changes.

    It was reaaallly tricky to re-do the circuit board because i want to be able to use it in several possibilities:

    1) totally basic.. only the 92% shutdown.
    3) basic, but with a configurable shutdown
    2) high-temp and with the 92% shutdown
    4) high-precision low-voltage shutdown (but no high-temp).

    using the exact same ckt board for all those posed a bunch of problems, especially since there are no standards of where the POWER should be, and though the op-amp and the low-volt chip are the same size and the ground and inputs share the same feet.. there is an extra foot on the low-volt chip and the Power and Output are BACKWARDS.. gee, thanks guys!

    in any event i got it figured out.. i have to put a couple resistors on sideways but it's a very clever solution i love it.

    I will be able to get the boards ordered as soon as a few presales are taken in, and more importantly the machined part ordered.. fortunately since it will be 100% lathe operation, it will take only bout 25 working days vs 45 working days (typical for milling).. turnaround.. they will give me an estimated date as soon as i place the order. It will not take as long to get any of the other parts so i plan to have the packs done a week or more in advance of the metal parts so we can box up 10+/day when the metal part comes in.

    I was playing with the prototype on the bench again today and it was just a thrill to go from the MN20 to the MN21 back and forth and watch it do its thing.. especially to watch the o-scope traces.. there can be little doubt the bulb life will be extended dramatically with the startup current being limited to 5A on the MN21! (nice to hear with $30 lamps!).

    Oh.. added bonus for vTwo of the driver.. besides the two dials to tweak the output voltage.. it will have a third to set the current output.. and one more really nice bonus.. a FUSE!. Well it turns out i needed a sense resistor.. and by sheer coincidence.. the 6.3A fuse is perfect.. and since the driver is limiting the output to 5.0A.. no real spike.. no need for a higher amperage fuse (which wouldn't work anyhow.. i need the resistance of the 6.3A fuse).

    The design of the battery pack encloses virtually all contacts that can be a problem.. i'm actually planning the meanest test possible on such a power pack.. rubbing steel wool on all open surfaces.. try that on a modamag or fivemega power pack.. yikes! (yes i know simple understanding would tell you NOT to do such a thing).. but i am honestly curious to figure out if i'm correct about my design being virtually short-proof.

    My other battery packs.. like FM and MM.. very short-prone.. considering that the center rod is + and the top and bottom both have grounded bolts.. it would fail that test instantly.. i've sparked some of my prototype packs installing them into the body (fortunately not remotely possible with my latest prototypes or my production packs).. however.. they still will have a charging jack on the back which can be shorted with something just the wrong shape and conductive.

    So.. once i get the sales thread online.. i will wait a few days to gather the *true* interest so i know how many metal parts to order, i don't want hundreds of paper weights that look like the inside of an M6!

    Oh, just in-case anybody missed it or forgot.. anybody on JSs M6-R list can transfer to the HDM6 list and will retain their shipping order (it will be mostly a moot point.. i expect them all to ship within 1 week.. maybe 2 if sales are double my highest anticipation)... however as usual, i will ship in order of paypal date, even in the case of the paypal to JS.


    Regulated hotwire 'the hotdriver' also for Surefire M6 • 3-level high-power LED drop-in for mag. the 'BAM!' click here
    I have disabled PMs.. use the 'email' link instead! • Genesis 1:3 And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light...

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