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Thread: QCG 1xAAA 1x5mmLED: mini review / first impressions

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    Flashaholic* Fallingwater's Avatar
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    Default QCG 1xAAA 1x5mmLED: mini review / first impressions

    I needed a low-power, very EDC-able light with long run time.
    The ideal such light is the Arc AAA-P, but I'm not paying $45 for anything with less than a Cree in it, period.

    I also wanted something identical but running off an AA cell, so I could leech every last milliwatt from the many dying-but-not-yet-flat AAs I have sitting around. Again, the ideal candidate is a Gerber Infinity Ultra, but $25, while cheaper than the AAA-P, is still too much to pay for something with a single 5mm LED in it.

    I looked around for chinese clones, but I couldn't find an AA light with a single 5mm emitter anywhere.
    I did find an AAA light, however: this one.

    So I got two: one to use as it is, and another to extract the driver from it and transplant it into an AA body.

    The lights arrived today. I'm still playing around with them (a full review with beamshots will follow), but I can give my first impressions.

    The picture on QCG suggests they are made of plastic, but they are in fact made of metal.



    The CNC milling isn't perfect, but it's not bad either. There are some rough edges on the keyring attachment, but nothing that could cut you.
    Contrary to what the QCG picture shows, the lights are pleasantly free from logos, red or otherwise.

    A small peeve I have with them is that they have no ridges and are thus very prone to roll away if you set them down on even slightly sloping surfaces. They have also no texturing, which could make it a bit harder to operate them if you have wet hands or something.

    They come with the usual cheap carbon-zinc cells that chinese vendors like to foist on you (these are of the "Shinon" brand), but I've seen worse. At least these look like they'll stay together, which is more than what I can say for some I got from DX, whose outer cover was uneven and bumpy.

    I replaced them with alkalines anyway; carbon-zinc cells are ok for powering LCD clocks, but I want something more powerful (and non-leaky) in my lights.

    The lights are quite bright, which suggests to me they're overdriving the emitters. They have - of course - nowhere near the output you can get from Crees and such, or even old Luxeon Is, but I was not expecting this much light from a single 5mm LED.

    In darkness, with not quite night-adapted eyes, they definitely provide enough light to avoid obstacles and see where you're going. At close range they're perfect for working behind computers, or for looking under furniture to find lost items, or other such tasks that don't require lots of power.

    The beam colour and intensity is slightly different, with one flashlight being slightly dimmer and greener and the other slightly brighter and bluer. Neither is what I'd call pure white, although the greener light is vaguely closer. The difference isn't enough to fret about.

    Power consumption from 1.5 volts is about 240ma, which supports the overdriving theory. Even considering conversion inefficiency, 240ma is a lot of current for a single-LED driver. I presume the emitter is seeing the thick end of 50 to 60 ma, although this is pure speculation - I'll be able to say more after I do more testing.
    At 1.2 volts it draws about 180ma and it's barely dimmer at all - this is a good light to run from an Eneloop AAA. At one volt the draw is still a hefty (relatively speaking) 140ma - although the LED is very noticeably dimmer. The limit below which the step-up converter gives up trying to power the LED seems to be juuuust above 0.5 volts, and even at such a low voltage it's still drawing 65ma. An alkaline cell that outputs 0.6 V under any load is, to all intents and purposes, dead flat, but it still gives useful light in these flashlights. At this low a light level you lose the ability to identify obstacles in the dark before bumping into or tripping over them (unless your eyes are well adapted to night vision), but you can still comfortably read a book.
    At the 1.7 volts you'd get from a lithium AAA the driver draws about 285ma, but the brightness doesn't increase noticeably, so there's little reason to use lithiums.
    I didn't dare push it any further for fear of smoking the circuit.

    Build quality is pretty good. One of the lights has a slightly stiffer tailcap, but it works fine. You get an o-ring on the tailcap, but I fail to see why - the head is definitely not waterproof, as it has no o-ring on the head and there's space between the LED and metal anyway. You could, I guess, silicon-seal the head and have a low-depth water-safe light, but in stock form it's at most slightly water resistant.

    They seem quite tough. I dropped one a few times (as I said, they roll away easily) and it's still working fine. I also dropped one while I was playing with it, tried to catch it on the fly, botched the move, hit it with my hand and sent it flying across the room. It hit the wall and fell hard on the ground. It now has a small scuff mark, but still works perfectly.

    If you remove the head cover and push with a stick or screwdriver from the battery compartment, you can remove the emitter and driver circuit.



    This self-contained pellet looks pretty easy to transplant in another body, but I don't know how hard it'd be to crack it open and replace the LED. Which I definitely want to do, by the way: a newer 20000mcd white emitter would make the beam brighter still and considerably whiter.

    I'll let you know when I have more data. So far, I can tell you that I really like the little things. Anyone who's been looking for a tiny EDC light running from an AAA and that doesn't beat it to death in a few minutes (like any superLED powered light will) should give these a try. Not the best there is, but at $4.39 a pop it's hard not to like them. Heck, you can get ten of these for the price of one Arc AAA-P.
    Last edited by Fallingwater; 10-23-2007 at 06:39 PM.

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    Flashaholic* Fallingwater's Avatar
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    Default Re: QCG 1xAAA 1x5mmLED: mini review / first impressions

    I decided I wanted to test the low-battery performance, so I found a tired old alkaline AAA that read 0.8 volts open circuit and slapped it in. As expected, the light was dim but still useful.
    I then went to bed and left the flashlight on in a drawer the whole night.
    I got it out today expecting it to be dead, but I was surprised to still see some light. Much dimmer, of course, but in pitch black it's still enough to navigate rooms and find stuff in cupboards.

    In an emergency you could scrounge up a few old discarded AAAs and still have hours upon hours of useful light.

    I'm impressed.

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    Default Re: QCG 1xAAA 1x5mmLED: mini review / first impressions

    How much runtime on a new battery?

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    Its not nearly as nice as the old one he used to sell; it had a rear clicky and a 'teal' tint that was quite nice.

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    Default Re: QCG 1xAAA 1x5mmLED: mini review / first impressions

    well the previously premium Nichia CS AAA-Ps are now 29.99, which is quite ab it lower than the 45 dollar figure you were quoting.
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    Flashaholic* Fallingwater's Avatar
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    Default Re: QCG 1xAAA 1x5mmLED: mini review / first impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by mhubble View Post
    How much runtime on a new battery?
    I haven't tested it long enough to be able to quote a figure, but based on the numbers I imagine four to six hours at close to full power followed by many more at gradually reducing brightness.
    All this from a quality alkaline, of course; a carbon-zinc would give the flashlight acceptable full-power brightness for a rather shorter time, even though it too would probably last a while at reduced brightness.

    Total battery life, of course, greatly depends on how low a light level you're willing to put up with. If any light is good light, then I imagine a 20+ hour run time might be possible, considering it's gone on for nine hours (and was still emitting non-useless light after that) from an alkaline that was, at the start of the test, probably too far gone to power a remote control.

    Once I start the full review I'll sacrifice a new AAA and do a proper practical test.

    An 800mah Eneloop NiMH, with its much flatter discharge curve, would probably give about four to four and a half hours at close to full power, then maybe another twenty minutes of rapidly decreasing brightness.

    Again, I will eventually do a proper test.

    Quote Originally Posted by Melchior View Post
    Its not nearly as nice as the old one he used to sell; it had a rear clicky and a 'teal' tint that was quite nice.
    I generally like clickies more than twisties, but on tiny AAA-based lights that don't need multi-mode operation I think a twistie is more appropriate, especially when you consider a clickie would have to be really really small to fit.

    Quote Originally Posted by 270winchester View Post
    well the previously premium Nichia CS AAA-Ps are now 29.99, which is quite ab it lower than the 45 dollar figure you were quoting.
    What's your point? The present-day AAA-P is still $45. So far I see most people who buy an AAA go for the P version. In the grand scale of things $15 more won't make the difference between making rent and living on the streets, so since they're already paying many people go for the best.

    But even if the only Arc-AAA was the $30 model, that's still too much to pay for a single-5mm-LED light, IMO.
    Don't get me wrong, I buy things that are more expensive and don't have to steal my food as a result. I could, if I wanted, buy an Arc AAA-P without denting my finances too much, but it's the idea of paying so much for so relatively little that bothers me.
    Yes, I know the Arc-AAA is tough as nails and exquisitely made and all, but for someone who doesn't actually need all the superb quality the little QCG light is a considerably more sensible option.

  7. #7

    Default Re: QCG 1xAAA 1x5mmLED: mini review / first impressions

    I have a couple of these lights and a bunch of the arc AAA clones I got awhile back from a group buy the AAA arc clones are a lot smaller diameter and shorter by about 3/8 inches too but these are nice as the tail twists and they are smooth and unlikely you will lose things by it coming apart. I keep the arc clone on my keychain do to the smaller size.
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    Default Re: QCG 1xAAA 1x5mmLED: mini review / first impressions

    What's your point? The present-day AAA-P is still $45. So far I see most people who buy an AAA go for the P version. In the grand scale of things $15 more won't make the difference between making rent and living on the streets, so since they're already paying many people go for the best.

    But even if the only Arc-AAA was the $30 model, that's still too much to pay for a single-5mm-LED light, IMO.
    Don't get me wrong, I buy things that are more expensive and don't have to steal my food as a result. I could, if I wanted, buy an Arc AAA-P without denting my finances too much, but it's the idea of paying so much for so relatively little that bothers me.
    Yes, I know the Arc-AAA is tough as nails and exquisitely made and all, but for someone who doesn't actually need all the superb quality the little QCG light is a considerably more sensible option.
    my point is there is an alternative to your 45-dollar figure.

    the original AAA-P didn't get dimmer just because of the introduction of the DS model, it just made the light more affordable.

    the option is there.
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    Flashaholic* Fallingwater's Avatar
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    Default Re: QCG 1xAAA 1x5mmLED: mini review / first impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Arc View Post
    I have a couple of these lights and a bunch of the arc AAA clones I got awhile back from a group buy the AAA arc clones are a lot smaller diameter and shorter by about 3/8 inches too but these are nice as the tail twists and they are smooth and unlikely you will lose things by it coming apart. I keep the arc clone on my keychain do to the smaller size.
    Where did you get the Arc clones? How do the beams compare?
    You say these are smooth and unlikely to come apart; does this mean the Arc clones are built more poorly?
    Thanks

  10. #10

    Default Re: QCG 1xAAA 1x5mmLED: mini review / first impressions

    Fallingwater,

    You can get what looks like the same light from LightHound for 1 dollar. It has a UV LED in it, but I replaced the UV with a blue LED taken from a 99 cent keychain light. It pulls .22 amps from an NiMH battery, so it's probably the same driver as you have. The black plastic sleeve pulls off over the LED and then you can just pry out the LED with a tiny flat screwdriver. It is not soldered in. You can find the flashlight under Closeouts & Specials at LightHound.

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    Flashaholic RebelXTNC's Avatar
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    Default Re: QCG 1xAAA 1x5mmLED: mini review / first impressions

    I recently bought two of these UV $1 lights from LightHound. One works perfectly, but the other is difficult to achieve a truly OFF position of the tail twistie. Otherwise it works fine when you need it to shine rather than needing it to be off. So you may consider ordering an extra one or two to allow for these typical quirks of cheap lights that aren't really worth exchanging.
    That's good info on modding one! I hadn't even tried to open the head, but I may change out the LED now that I know. He had the white ones before as well, but they sold out.

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    Default Re: QCG 1xAAA 1x5mmLED: mini review / first impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by Fallingwater View Post
    Where did you get the Arc clones? How do the beams compare?
    You say these are smooth and unlikely to come apart; does this mean the Arc clones are built more poorly?
    Thanks
    I got the arc clones from a group buy perhaps 8-9 months ago or so? The clones are diamond knurled? all over including the head which makes them grippable but the quality varies on both the LEDs in them and the machining as some the head comes off easier than others. I have had one lose its head in my pocket with the battery falling out when I pulled it out as it was attached to my keychain. If you tinker with the clones you can get them to stay together and unless you do a whitewall comparison so far they are all bright enough. They were worth more than what I paid for them, I have been EDCing one for a long time as they are ideal for keychains.
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    Flashaholic* Fallingwater's Avatar
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    Default Re: QCG 1xAAA 1x5mmLED: mini review / first impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by Mockingbird View Post
    Fallingwater,

    You can get what looks like the same light from LightHound for 1 dollar. It has a UV LED in it, but I replaced the UV with a blue LED taken from a 99 cent keychain light. It pulls .22 amps from an NiMH battery, so it's probably the same driver as you have. The black plastic sleeve pulls off over the LED and then you can just pry out the LED with a tiny flat screwdriver. It is not soldered in. You can find the flashlight under Closeouts & Specials at LightHound.
    I've finally gotten around to pulling the plastic sleeve off the driver, and I've found out two things:
    1) the sleeve is glued in place. Not with strong glue, thankfully, but it's not just a matter of pulling it off. You need to pry it off with a thin tool, while being careful not to ruin the thin wire of the exceedingly tiny ferrite transformer inside.
    2) as can be seen in this picture...



    the LED is definitely soldered in place. I'll need to unsolder the transformer (which seems to have three contacts with the circuit board... WTF?), then unsolder the emitter and solder the new one in. Hopefully I won't break anything in the process.

    Modding the little bast... er, the light is going to be harder than I at first thought.

  14. #14

    Default Re: QCG 1xAAA 1x5mmLED: mini review / first impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by Mockingbird View Post
    Fallingwater,

    You can get what looks like the same light from LightHound for 1 dollar. It has a UV LED in it, but I replaced the UV with a blue LED taken from a 99 cent keychain light. It pulls .22 amps from an NiMH battery, so it's probably the same driver as you have. The black plastic sleeve pulls off over the LED and then you can just pry out the LED with a tiny flat screwdriver. It is not soldered in. You can find the flashlight under Closeouts & Specials at LightHound.
    I bought a bunch of these from Lighthound based on this, planning to put white LEDs in them and give them to friends. They are soldered in.... Are you sure yours was not soldered in? I've taken two apart so far and they were heavily soldered into place, I'm going to try to desolder one but I'm not great at soldering so I'm not expecting much success.

    I hope I can get these UV LEDs out, they are simple but fairly well made little lights.

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    Default Re: QCG 1xAAA 1x5mmLED: mini review / first impressions

    Because it looks tough to try soldering a new LED in there, I tried a ghetto solution that I've tried before - dremeling off the old UV LED just above its legs where it meets the board, leaving the legs going into the board just a hair above the board surface. Then take the new LED and cut off its legs nearly flush with the bottom of its acrylic body. So basically like a 1/2 mm of contacts for both the LED and the board to make contact with each other. Alternatively you could drill into either the board's legs or the LED's legs a hair and leaving the opposite legs longer to 'plug in' to the other end. Sorry if it's hard to understand, basically I'm just breaking the circuit and just pressing them back together again with a new LED in place of the old. Anyway, after a couple tries aligning it properly, it works fine. I've hit the end of the light on something hard about 20 times and I haven't even seen it flicker yet so it looks like I lucked out and made good contact. With a new alkaline (1.60V) the current from the cell is right at about 175ma, with a 1.44 alkaline current was about 160ma. I don't know how efficient the circuit is, I haven't checked at the LED yet. Hopefully at this current it should give 5-6 hours of good runtime with a few more dim hours. I used one of DX's '20k' white LEDs, output is ok, about what I expected. I'm guessing the LED is probably being driven around 20-30ma which would make this circuit under 50% efficient but then that's not unexpected. P.S. - the circuit looks just the same as FallingWater's. I changed from the low scale on my cheapo meter to the higher scale and it measured about 250ma current, so I'm not sure which is more accurate. If it's really 250ma then this circuit is really inefficient, again not that much of a surprise though.
    Last edited by mmmflashlights; 11-07-2007 at 09:50 PM.

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    Flashaholic* Fallingwater's Avatar
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    Default Re: QCG 1xAAA 1x5mmLED: mini review / first impressions

    I think it's driving the LED harder than that. It just seems too bright not to be overdriven.
    I'll take some measurements when I get around to unsoldering the circuit apart and upgrading the emitter.
    I don't much like your solution. I'm happy that it works for you, but if a light is to be held in a pocket and bumped around all day long I want the LED to be soldered.

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    Default Re: QCG 1xAAA 1x5mmLED: mini review / first impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by Fallingwater View Post
    I think it's driving the LED harder than that. It just seems too bright not to be overdriven.
    I'll take some measurements when I get around to unsoldering the circuit apart and upgrading the emitter.
    I don't much like your solution. I'm happy that it works for you, but if a light is to be held in a pocket and bumped around all day long I want the LED to be soldered.
    Believe me I'd rather solder it as well, but I'd say that there's a high chance that I'd just end up screwing it up beyond repair and throwing the circuit against a wall before I'd be able to actually get in there to unsolder one and put in a new LED. My soldering skills and cheap soldering iron would not go along well with this circuit, though I may try to unsolder one wire and unsolder the LED in another one of the lights. I will say again that I have not seen any flicker whatsoever, the plastic cover and threaded head is basically pressing the LED down onto the circuit so I couldn't even twist the LED out of its spot when I tried. And I hit it hard on a wooden edge about 20 times and it had no effect, so for the time being it seems alright. Compared to a direct driven LED at around 50ma, it's visibly dimmer so that's why I'm guessing it's closer to maybe 30ma. I'll be curious to see what you measure it at if you do measure it, I'll probably take mine apart to measure it at some point.

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    Flashaholic* Fallingwater's Avatar
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    Default Re: QCG 1xAAA 1x5mmLED: mini review / first impressions

    Turns out the stock LEDs are about as bright as my "20.000mcd" ones, so they don't need replacing. Mine are whiter, but that alone isn't worth the hassle of taking the driver pellet apart.
    Which means I'm not taking apart the flashlight I EDC. Not until I manage to get some 5mm LEDs that are considerably more efficient, anyway.

    The driver pellet of the other one was opened already, so I decided to have some fun with it.
    I dremeled off the existing LED while leaving just enough of its legs to allow wires to be soldered on them.
    I then connected one of my 20cd LEDs and proceeded to take some measurements.

    Based on the voltage I see across the emitter (3.62-3.63V), it appears to be driven at about 35ma. Keep in mind that my testing equipment isn't exactly NASA standard; the driving current might be slightly higher.

    Voltage at the emitter and current draw on the battery seem to occasionally fluctuate slightly for no reason I can discern.

    If the driver pellet is run with no LED connected, its output voltage shoots up to 64 volts. This in turn means that if you connect a LED backwards it's going to see 64V reversed and die a quick and painful death.

    It took me two blown LEDs before I realized that. *sigh* at least they're cheap...

    After the measurements were taken I set out to accomplish the original project of running it on an AA cell. So I went at the local 99-cent store, and bought this:



    It's a single-AA, incandescent flashlight that has the crappiest, nastiest incandescent bulb I've ever seen.
    The switch also feels a bit rickety, but it seems to do its job.

    I removed the bulb and the plastic thingie holding it in place seems to have just enough space to house the driver pellet.
    Work is still in progress, but it shouldn't be too difficult to mod the driver and LED in the cheapo flashlight. Generous amounts of melt glue will probably be needed, though.
    Last edited by Fallingwater; 11-13-2007 at 08:09 PM.

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    Default Re: QCG 1xAAA 1x5mmLED: mini review / first impressions

    I bought one of these AAA "FL110C" lights a while back. The circuit in the stock light is the so called "Joule Thief" - single transistor with a tapped inductor which explains the three inductor wires. Its a great little circuit for extracting the last bit of juice from your batteries since it usually works at .8v or below, but it's efficiency is pretty bad - on the order of 50%. I swapped out the transistor in mine for a lower Vsat version and this helped a bit to lessen the switching losses and the light got a bit brighter.

    I ended up making a new pill for it with a Zetex stepup converter and a Nichia CS led. Its a lot brighter now because I'm driving the Nichia at 80-90ma. Its not a bad light, nice and floody for close up stuff. I prefer the chinese ARC clones mentioned earlier because they are smaller, lighter and have a bit more focused beam. They also have a reasonably efficient stepup converter.

    Rich

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    Default Re: QCG 1xAAA 1x5mmLED: mini review / first impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by Fallingwater View Post
    If the driver pellet is run with no LED connected, its output voltage shoots up to 64 volts. This in turn means that if you connect a LED backwards it's going to see 64V reversed and die a quick and painful death.

    It took me two blown LEDs before I realized that. *sigh* at least they're cheap...
    Haha, I knew something odd was going on with this curcuit when I was playing around with it. For one thing, I drained a new 1.6V alkaline down to 1.4V in almost no time for no apparent reason - obviously the reason was that it was being driven hard without the LED connected. I also 'burned out' one LED without knowing for sure why, clearly the 64V would explain that. Probably also explains the fair amount of sparks flying when I would attach the LED.

    I also had thought about taking the circuit out and making a simple 1 AA, single 5mm LED light using this circuit, but the efficiency of the circuit and difficulty in soldering on a new LED will probably just have me skip that idea. DX has a multi-mode circuit that can be adjusted down to below 30ma drawn on a AA, and on a P4 Cree it still gives a respectable amount of light. I did have a wild idea for this light though, DX sells a 1.5V multi-mode circuit that is 10mm wide x 10.5mm tall, I have done some basic measurements and at some point I'd like to try putting that circuit and one of the high power LEDs in it (Cree, Seoul, Rebel, Edison). Probably wouldn't include a lens and the only reflector might involve bare aluminum so it'd be a floody light. Basically a waste of time, but it would be fun to try anyway.

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    Flashaholic* Fallingwater's Avatar
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    Default Re: QCG 1xAAA 1x5mmLED: mini review / first impressions

    Rheslip: Could you tell me about this Zetex stepup converter? Where do I get it, or how do I build it?
    What part is the transistor you used in place of the existing one?
    Also: where did you get the Arc clones?

    Edit: oh good, I broke one of the inductor wires as I was installing the pellet in the plastic sleeve.
    Now I have the broken pellet inside the plastic sleeve. I need to remove it to resolder it without completely ripping the inductor off.
    As if that wasn't bad enough, some cyanoacrilate glue (which I used to keep the positive metal contact of the sleeve in place) trickled down to a wire and how the thing doesn't want to come off.
    Argh!

    Edit2: I'll have to drill through the wire. It'll have to wait for tomorrow, as the dremel is a bit noisy to run at 3.30 am.
    Last edited by Fallingwater; 11-13-2007 at 08:38 PM.

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    Default Re: QCG 1xAAA 1x5mmLED: mini review / first impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by Fallingwater View Post
    Rheslip: Could you tell me about this Zetex stepup converter? Where do I get it, or how do I build it?
    What part is the transistor you used in place of the existing one?
    Also: where did you get the Arc clones?
    There was a huge thread on here someplace about the Zetex ZXSC300 which dates back a couple of years now - might have been archived. I think Digikey still sells them and the FMMT617 transistor that goes with it. I built mine from scratch out of .015" raw PCB material and the required 4 or 5 parts. This is pretty tricky - dinky little SMT parts on a PCB smaller than a dime. For the transistor swap mod I think I used the FMMT617 but I don't remember now. The key is to get an NPN with low saturation voltage so minimum power is wasted as heat when the transistor is on.

    Seems to me I saw a thread on optimizing the "Joule Theif" circuit here a few months back. It involved adding some transistors or something to make it switch faster, which improves efficiency.

    The ARC clones were from a group buy a year or so ago. Said "Sona FL319" on the packaging. I put Nichia CS in both mine. Hard to imagine a AAA light getting smaller than these little guys.

    Too bad about the broken pill. Been there, done that

    Rich

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    Flashaholic* Fallingwater's Avatar
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    Default Re: QCG 1xAAA 1x5mmLED: mini review / first impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by rheslip View Post
    The ARC clones were from a group buy a year or so ago. Said "Sona FL319" on the packaging
    I googled, but it only finds the group buy thread here and a useless UPC site

    I put Nichia CS in both mine
    Where did you buy the Nichia CS?

    Too bad about the broken pill. Been there, done that
    I ain't giving up. Tomorrow I'll drill through the glued wire, resolder the inductor, clean it all up and try again.
    Would lengthening the inductor wires impact efficiency? I'd like to have some leeway inbetween it and the tiny board...

    Oh, and on a side note, Lighthound is out of the UV version of this light.
    Last edited by Fallingwater; 11-13-2007 at 10:26 PM.

  24. #24
    *Flashaholic* Marduke's Avatar
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    Default Re: QCG 1xAAA 1x5mmLED: mini review / first impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by Fallingwater View Post
    I googled, but it only finds the group buy thread here and a useless UPC site
    Also search for FL319, SE FL319 (SE for Sona Enterprises), and "Chinese ebay clone" 1xaaa

    Lots of pictures and info, but no one selling them still, unless SE still is, but I don't feel like creating an account with them just to view their website.

  25. #25
    Flashaholic* Fallingwater's Avatar
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    Default Re: QCG 1xAAA 1x5mmLED: mini review / first impressions

    Success!
    My first real flashlight mod is now complete!
    It's not much of a mod, really, but my previous mods were just emitter swaps in existing LED lights. This one is the first radical mod, so to speak, and I'm pleased at how it came out.
    I'm usually content with throwing together a bunch of parts, establishing the result works as intended and calling it a day. This results in hodgepodge messes of wires and parts that work but look horrible and feel dodgy.
    In this one, however, I put some more effort and got it done as neatly as I could.

    I drilled through the wire and finally got the pill back out. I resoldered the inductor wire that broke and melt-glued the two parts together so I don't have to deal with that particular problem again.

    I then removed the incandescent bulb from the plastic holder, drilled two holes on the back of the holder, soldered two wires to the contacts on the pill and inserted the pill in place of the bulb, with the wires coming out from the back.
    I clipped the new LED's legs and soldered them on the old one's remaining stumps, then melt-glued the pill in the holder.

    Here are some piccies:

    Original flange fitting globe in holder (ewww!):



    Pill inserted and negative wire coming out the side (this was before I broke the inductor wire):



    LED soldered and pill glued to the holder:



    Holder assembly screwed into reflector:



    Back view, with negative wire soldered to the switch-contact ring:



    Everything put together:



    The smoke test - it works!



    Glamour shots:



    I now have my very own 1-AA 1-5mmLED flashlight

    The only thing I don't like about it is that the plastic cheapie doesn't have very good threading. I often have to wrestle with the head to get it screwed correctly to the body. Oh well.
    I left the led unglued, so when the Jeled 55cd emitters I got on eBay get here I can swap the existing LED out with one of those. A Jeled should improve output considerably.

    Beamshots to come soon!

  26. #26

    Default Re: QCG 1xAAA 1x5mmLED: mini review / first impressions

    Good Job, you've made a functional light out of one of those otherwise nearly worthless 1 AA incandescent lights. I had 2 or 3 of these cheap plastic 1 AA lights a couple years ago, I threw them away though. After I ran across this cheap keychain light, I probably would have done the same with 1 of the pills just to make a usable light out of a junker. Even though it's not very bright and the circuit isn't very efficient, you're still looking at probably around 12 hours or so of runtime on a single AA, not bad at all.

  27. #27
    Enlightened
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    Default Re: QCG 1xAAA 1x5mmLED: mini review / first impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by Fallingwater View Post

    Where did you buy the Nichia CS?
    I bought them from somebody in the dealer forum, I've forgotten who now. CS are pretty bright and rugged but very blue/brown in tint.

    Congrats on the mod ! I've had tons of fun making little flashlight mods like that. I made a PR base gizmo with the Zetex converter and an SSC led - really bright, white beam and since its way underdriven at about 150ma it'll run 20hrs or more in a 2AA light. Much nicer than my PR base SMJLED !

    Rich

  28. #28
    Flashaholic* Fallingwater's Avatar
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    Default Re: QCG 1xAAA 1x5mmLED: mini review / first impressions

    Small update: I've swapped a Nichia GS (out of a DX fauxton) in place of the generic LED in the modified 1AA light. The output has improved greatly. It's presently running from a relatively clapped out alkaline AA (measuring 1.3V open circuit), drawing 200mA at power-on, and outputting an amount of light that wouldn't impress me if it was running an underdriven high-flux emitter, but which definitely impresses me considering it's a 5mm LED.

    I'm actually using it as my main going-around-at-night, finding-stuff-in-boxes, working-on-the-computer indoor light.

    As for the original QCG 1xAAA... I can't decide whether I should mod it or not. The output would improve, but its stock led has a bluish tint that I really like...

    Perhaps I'll order another one and mod that.
    Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow you may die.

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