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Thread: LunaSol: The Concept

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    *Flashaholic* McGizmo's Avatar
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    Default LunaSol: The Concept

    Hi guys,

    I want to explain a bit about the LunaSol concept and what the design attempts to accomplish. From the name there is an inference to moon and sun. Both of these heavenly bodies provide light from the same source to us; the moon is a source of reflected sunlight and consequently no where near as intense. None of this has any real bearing on the flashlight but the name has some significance to me and really it is in consideration of the Nichia's which I have felt for some time could provide a "full moon" type of illumination.

    The "x2" converters used in many of my recent lights provided for two levels of light output from the same LED and optic. The LunaSol 27 utilizes a new converter that Wayne Yamaguchie designed specifically for the application and it follows in the x2 format in regards to having two contact points, the "Kilroy" and contact ring. However this BBM converter serves as a mother board with a daughter board attached. Kilroy brings power to the BBM which drives 6 of the Nichia 310CS LED's in series with a constant current of ~18 mA. The contact ring provides power to the daughter board which is a single level, constant current driver for a Cree XR-E (Q4 bin) at a drive level of ~425 mA.

    With the LunaSol design, you have two outputs but each output is a completely separate circuit with its own LED and optic package.



    The idea of a ring of small LED's around a single high power light source is certainly not new and it is one I personally visited years ago and there have been a number of production lights of similar appearance and design.

    However, IMHO, the key to the LunaSol's viability is in the choice of LED's themselves with a goal of yielding a low and even flood of light on low and a reasonable intense and concentrated or collimated beam in addition, on high.

    The Nichia 310 is a wonderful LED for a clean flood beam of light. The 3 mm Nichias have never been very popular in flashlight design and have sat on the bench while their larger brothers, the 5 mm were put in play. The die in the 3 mm is the same die as that used in the 5 mm and the only difference is in the distribution of light resulting from the different geometries of the integral lenses. It seems that the most popular has been the 500 which has the highest mcd rating because it is a tight and collimated beam (with artifacts and color discrepancies inherent in a sharp projection of image). I question the intent when a small ring of LED's, presumably used for close in flood type work, employs LED's which themselves are designed for maximum reach (throw)

    The LunaSol 27 is the most complicated assembly I have built with to date.



    Some details, factoids and specs in no real rhyme or reason:

    LunaSol27:

    2 mm thick sapphire lens
    BBM boost (18 mA) driver for Nichia ring
    GD buck/boost (425 mA) driver for Cree XR-E (default driver *)
    Titanium head, piston, sleeve, clip & clip screws
    Sterling silver wire leads joining mother and daughter boards
    Sterling silver anode bead
    H3 vial in piston top
    At 2.9 Vin, low pulls ~ 200 mA and low + high pulls ~ 800 mA
    Runtime on low is ~ 8-10 hours
    Runtime on high (High consists on both Nichias and Cree lit) is comparable to stock drive PD's; typically around 1.5 hours if I recall correctly
    The beam angel of the Nichia's is greater than the spill angle from the Cree so on high, you have a three tiered beam distribution.

    The LunaSol 27 assembly is not trivial and I had to observe care in insuring that there were no unwanted electrical connections or shorts. I put two layers of Kapton tape on the daughter board to insure isolation from the clamping screw and riser used in the assembly. I also have painted the exposed side of the mother board (BBM) with some poorman's comformal coating (nail polish) to ward off conductive dust bunnies from creating unwanted electrical paths. I mention this for those of you who might consider wanting to take the light apart. Please don't! This design does not exploit the full potential of the LED's being used and IMHO, there is really nothing to gain by changing out the LED's or tweaking with the circuitry. Obviously if you own one of these, you can do whatever you want to it but if you find you have problems after tweaking it, have fun! I know I have!

    Should I fail to remember to mention it in one of the wave offerings, the LunaSol like all of my lights will often come with its own unique character marks and cosmetic singularities. These lights are not concourse and I make no false attempts or claims to such. Any of you who have made contact with any of my reflectors know how fragile the reflective surface is. Well the reflector on the LunaSol has this reflective coating on its front face and that face is subject to unwanted contact; initially in shipping to me and certainly on my bench. Many of these reflectors have smudges from O-ring "ooze" and don't kid yourself thinking you can clean these and make them look better! There are some tool marks on the machined titanium and the clips have some birth marks on them.

    Well I have rambled enough here but I recall I put an asterisk up there so best address that before I end this.

    * Initially I had planned on using NG425's as the daughter board since they enjoy better efficiency as a boost driver VS the buck/boost GD driver. However there was some vocal concern expressed by those who use Li-Ion cells exclusively so I decided the "standard" driver would be a GD which will perform the same on primary or rechargeable. I may do some small offerings later on where I use a different daughter.

    EDIT: Bernie's review on the LunaSol 27 and a PassAround thread with comments on the LunaSol 27 from the CPF Marketplace.
    Last edited by McGizmo; 03-22-2008 at 03:05 PM. Reason: Nichia 310CS used and not 310DS Oops!
    Build Prices .... some mods and builds (not 4 sale) "Nature can be cruel- but we don't have to be."~ Temple Grandin

  2. #2
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    Default Re: LunaSol: The Concept

    Excellent writeup Don. Thanks!

  3. #3
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    Default Re: LunaSol: The Concept

    BTW can you give us a hint when the wave is coming?

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    Flashaholic* dmdrewitt's Avatar
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    Default Re: LunaSol: The Concept

    Thanks Don. I know this project has been a tough one!! I can't wait for the wave to hit

    David

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    *Flashaholic* McGizmo's Avatar
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    Default Re: LunaSol: The Concept

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnTz View Post
    BTW can you give us a hint when the wave is coming?
    After breakfast and just before I go to the beach..........
    Build Prices .... some mods and builds (not 4 sale) "Nature can be cruel- but we don't have to be."~ Temple Grandin

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    Default Re: LunaSol: The Concept

    Today? Your killing me.

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    *Flashaholic* Illum's Avatar
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    Default Re: LunaSol: The Concept



    nice!
    whats the GSRP* at the moment?

    [*Gizmo's Suggested Retail Price]
    Last edited by Illum; 03-22-2008 at 02:06 PM.

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    Flashaholic* blitzlicht65's Avatar
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    Default Re: LunaSol: The Concept

    Quote Originally Posted by McGizmo View Post
    After breakfast and just before I go to the beach..........
    Hi Don,

    after breakfast??

    In germany it's now time to go into the bed -

    (I hope your breakfast time is soon).



    Greetings
    Dirk

  9. #9

    Default Re: LunaSol: The Concept

    Quote Originally Posted by McGizmo View Post
    Hi guys,
    This design does not exploit the full potential of the LED's being used and IMHO, there is really nothing to gain by changing out the LED's or tweaking with the circuitry.
    While I'm looking forward to the LunaSol just as you described it, I can't help but notice that the two halves of that sentence seem contradictory to each other.

    Quote Originally Posted by McGizmo View Post
    * Initially I had planned on using NG425's as the daughter board since they enjoy better efficiency as a boost driver VS the buck/boost GD driver. However there was some vocal concern expressed by those who use Li-Ion cells exclusively so I decided the "standard" driver would be a GD which will perform the same on primary or rechargeable.
    Thank you!
    That alone probably reduced significantly the number of people trying to take one of these apart.
    The LED ... making up for the fact that titanium doesn't glow inherently

  10. #10
    *Flashaholic* McGizmo's Avatar
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    Default Re: LunaSol: The Concept

    Hi guys, I made an error in the first post which I have rectified. I stated that Nichia 310DS were used in the LunaSol 27 and that is incorrect. At the time I had the Nichia rings made (half a year ago or longer) the Nichia 310CS was used as the DS had yet to come out. The DS is perhaps 40% brighter than the CS and frankly if this light were built with DS, I would check with Wayne to see if the BBM could be set at a lower drive level as I feel there would have been more to gain from extended run time over the level of light already present from the CS LED's. It's a moot point because these lights use the 310CS.


    Originally Posted by McGizmo
    Hi guys,
    This design does not exploit the full potential of the LED's being used and IMHO, there is really nothing to gain by changing out the LED's or tweaking with the circuitry.



    Quote Originally Posted by iconoclast View Post
    While I'm looking forward to the LunaSol just as you described it, I can't help but notice that the two halves of that sentence seem contradictory to each other.
    .........

    Thanks and let me try to clarify here. The design goal of this light does not require the LED's to be driven at max current or giving out max flux.
    Build Prices .... some mods and builds (not 4 sale) "Nature can be cruel- but we don't have to be."~ Temple Grandin

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    Flashaholic* FrogmanM's Avatar
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    Default Re: LunaSol: The Concept

    Don I cannot thank you enough for creating this flashlight! I used mine today to check out some caves near Laguna Beach, what an awesome tool! I am also happy to see some facts on this thread reguarding runtime and the "interior pics" of the LunaSol.

    Thanks again and say hi to the whales for me!

    Mayo
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    datiLED's Avatar
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    Default Re: LunaSol: The Concept

    Awesome thread, Don. I have wanted to see the inside of the LunaSol27 since I checked it out in the passaround. Nice work.
    I am currently accepting limited mod requests. Please send me a PM!

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    Default Re: LunaSol: The Concept

    A beauty to behold. Congratulations to all the lucky wave catchers out there.

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    Flashaholic Dog Chaser's Avatar
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    Default Re: LunaSol: The Concept

    Wave? What wave?

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    Default Re: LunaSol: The Concept

    Don thanks again for this light. I will be checking the mailbox hourly

    The question I have is concerning Li-Ion. I know the GD for the Cree can easily handle the higher voltage since it is a buck/boost but what happens to the BBM since it is only a boost. Will the Nichias be in a brighter direct drive mode till the voltage starts to drop then go to a less bright regulated boost mode when the voltage drops before the battery safety circuitry turns it off? So will there be a difference in brightness for the ring depending on the use of primaries or rechargeables?

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    Default Re: LunaSol: The Concept

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnTz View Post
    The question I have is concerning Li-Ion. I know the GD for the Cree can easily handle the higher voltage since it is a buck/boost but what happens to the BBM since it is only a boost. Will the Nichias be in a brighter direct drive mode till the voltage starts to drop then go to a less bright regulated boost mode when the voltage drops before the battery safety circuitry turns it off? So will there be a difference in brightness for the ring depending on the use of primaries or rechargeables?
    If I got this right, the Nichias are wired in series with an overall Vf of ~19V(?), so voltage needs to be boosted with li-ions, too.
    regards,
    David

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    Default Re: LunaSol: The Concept

    David your right on. I totally missed the series wiring. Now it all makes sense to me.

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    Default Re: LunaSol: The Concept

    I use this light for some time now ... and it is still freaking great. A superb concept ... and it works

    bernie
    There is a type of perfection that transcends the quest for lumens. Buying a $250 1-cell light for "lum factor" is like buying a $250 single malt Scotch for the alcohol content.
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    It's always darkest just before it goes pitch black.
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    Default Re: LunaSol: The Concept

    Bernie..or anyone..Don mentioned reflectors with smudges of o-ring lube on them, and the difficulty of cleaning same.

    How much of a chore is it to just replace the reflector, and what size reflector is it?

  20. #20
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    Default Re: LunaSol: The Concept

    It is a special reflector :



    ... and I do not think one can replace it that easily.

    The center portion is similar to a McR-17XR.

    bernie
    There is a type of perfection that transcends the quest for lumens. Buying a $250 1-cell light for "lum factor" is like buying a $250 single malt Scotch for the alcohol content.
    - paulr


    It's always darkest just before it goes pitch black.
    My shoes are too tight. But it doesn't matter, because I have forgotten how to dance.

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    Default Re: LunaSol: The Concept

    Anyone know how this compares to the XR-27C in throw and overall light output?

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    Flashaholic* yaesumofo's Avatar
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    Default Re: LunaSol: The Concept

    I have not been this exicited about a light in a long time.
    I can't wait to get mine!!!!
    Yaesumofo
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    Default Re: LunaSol: The Concept

    Overall light output should be higher than the XR27 head as the LEDs are newer and more efficient now. As for throw ... ... no idea, since I do not have an XR27 head.
    bernie
    There is a type of perfection that transcends the quest for lumens. Buying a $250 1-cell light for "lum factor" is like buying a $250 single malt Scotch for the alcohol content.
    - paulr


    It's always darkest just before it goes pitch black.
    My shoes are too tight. But it doesn't matter, because I have forgotten how to dance.

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    Default Re: LunaSol: The Concept

    How does it compare to a XR-19? Since it has a 19mm reflector vs the 18mm reflector.


    Quote Originally Posted by Kiessling View Post
    Overall light output should be higher than the XR27 head as the LEDs are newer and more efficient now. As for throw ... ... no idea, since I do not have an XR27 head.
    bernie

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    Flashaholic* Cuso's Avatar
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    Default Re: LunaSol: The Concept

    Quote Originally Posted by yaesumofo View Post
    I have not been this excited about a light in a long time.
    I can't wait to get mine!!!!
    Yaesumofo
    I hear ya...


    It would be cool if the Master would make rings whit different leds, I could use a UV or a red nightime vision...heck even my camera could use a little IR. Let me not get carried away too much..

  26. #26
    *Flashaholic* McGizmo's Avatar
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    Default Re: LunaSol: The Concept

    The LED ring is bonded to the reflector with a UV cured epoxy. It is certainly possible to use other 3 mm LED's other than the 310CS I used. However, once you commit, the build is such that you won't be swapping these out for others unless you completely take the LunaSol 27 head apart. If I had the budget and economics to design a cassette or module that could easily be removed and reconfigured it would be a different story. Of course if I had wings....

    Out of curiosity, I did do one ring where I exchanged one of the 310CS with a red 3 mm Seoul LED. This also required machining the port of the red LED on the reflector as well. The color rendering of this ring was an improvement over the full ring of white LED's but the mod was too labor intensive to consider implementing across the population of all of these nor would it be important or possibly even desired in many cases.

    The only viable way to offer these lights was in keeping a uniformity in construction which allowed me a certain amount of assembly line approach. Building a light up from beginning to end, one at a time, would have increased the labor time significantly and allowing for "custom" requests would be an administrative nightmare; not even accounting for the individual communications back and forth ("Well what if we added one orange and then two white and then a red....) Talk is cheap but time on the other hand, must be accounted for.

    Another thing some of you aren't considering, I suspect, is that there is no provision for switching through portions of the LED ring selectively lighting just them. This is not a U2! If the U2 were easily accessible and dismantle able, you could do some really cool stuff, I know this for fact.

    The LunaSol 27 is a relatively simple light and presumably of the KISS doctrine.
    Build Prices .... some mods and builds (not 4 sale) "Nature can be cruel- but we don't have to be."~ Temple Grandin

  27. #27
    Flashaholic Brightboy1's Avatar
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    Default Re: LunaSol: The Concept

    Quote Originally Posted by McGizmo View Post
    This is not a U2! If the U2 were easily accessible and dismantle able, you could do some really cool stuff, I know this for fact.
    Unless I miss my guess, I think you mean a KROMA, not a U2.
    Last edited by Brightboy1; 03-25-2008 at 04:29 PM. Reason: Misspelled word
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  28. #28
    *Flashaholic* McGizmo's Avatar
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    Default Re: LunaSol: The Concept

    Yes, sorry. Kroma.
    Build Prices .... some mods and builds (not 4 sale) "Nature can be cruel- but we don't have to be."~ Temple Grandin

  29. #29
    Flashaholic* London Lad's Avatar
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    Default Re: LunaSol: The Concept

    The leds in the SF Beast are a mixed ring of white and UV. They all come on together. This is a very useful set up for LEOs as it gives local illumination and the ability to check documents authenticity at the same time.

    I wonder how this set up would perform in a LunaSol ring.


  30. #30
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    Default Re: LunaSol: The Concept

    Don is Krytox 50/50 from the Shoppe o.k. to lube the threads and oring on the LunaSol?

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