I have hinted at the possibility of a AAA key chain light and this would be it. Before I go further, I think I should mention some of the past. It seems that at least once a year, I will do some sort of goofy AAA light prototype or mod. I have left the tiny lights to others on CPF but the thought of one does come up now and then. My most recent AAA light was a Ti host for one of Peter's Arc AAA light engines in which I swapped the 5 mm LED for one of the 3 mm Nichias that I have a strong preference towards. Peter had provided me with some of his AAA components some time back and I can't even recall what we were up to.
The Sapphire is based on the Arc AAA flashlight.
Last year, in communication with Peter Gransee of Arc Flashlight, this light was brought up in discussion. Some of us have been on Peter over the years to build a Ti AAA and some of you have been on me to build one. I have my ideas and preferences on the host design but lack a light engine to use. Peter offered to build some Light Engines for me using the Nichia 310DS LED (supplied by me). In consideration of Arc Flashlight providing me with these light engines, it was agreed that I would supply them with a portion of the run of titanium sets which I had designed and had fabricated. I would do "my thing" with my lot of components and Arc would do "their thing" with the components they have.
To be more specific on how this light is based on the Arc AAA, the geometry and threads are the same so that in theory the head and batery tube are interchangeable. The converter that drives the LED is the same converter used in the current Arc AAA. The choice of LED is different. The profile and exterior form of the head and battery tube are diferent. The head in this light was designed specifically for hosting the 3 mm LED and there is a sealed sapphire window in front of the LED. A cross section detail of the head and battery tube is below:
I recall with some early Arc AAA lights that the ground path through the aluminum could be problematic and there were some flickering issues encountered by some users. Peter has fine tuned the design and mechanical aspects of the AAA over a number of variations and I believe has mastered this issue. The Sapphire head is in keeping with the Arc AAA head in that it has a lip, aft of the PCB, which could be staked to insure a tight mechanical grip on the PCB as well as enhance the ground path from host to converter. HOWEVER, I have not staked any of these lights and don't believe it is necessary. Further, I have not potted the LE in place as the Arc AAA's are assembled.
I believe the virtue of Ti having its oxide film electrically conductive will in itself alleviate a ground path issue. To date with samples of the Sapphire in use as well as my experience from previous Ti AAA protos, the ground path has not been a problem.
On the wave of Sapphire's I will be launching, I have press fit the LE's into place and then added a silver solder blob to one of the epoxy fill holes in the PCB. The hole is a conductive via and the silver solder is solder bonded to the copper in the hole. I then staked this blob with an auto center punch which forces some of the silver against the inside bore of the PCB chamber in the head. Many of you could care less about what I am saying here and likely aren't trying to follow the "picture". No worries. The result, I believe, is a light engine that is semi permenantly installed in the head and one that will not have any ground path issues. Time will tell.
I say semi permenant because I believe one can succesfully and relatively easily remove the light engine from the head with no damage to the head but in all likelyhood, distruction of the LE itself will result. Why would one want to remove a LE? Well why are any of these lights modified? I believe the Sapphire could be host to any number of small LE's and there are likely other converters and LED's that would be preferred by some of you. Frankly, it may be that the LE could have been installed with an easy slip fit and easy removal but I opted for a more secure mount at the expense of easy removal.
I think I have given you enough information at least to start on what I have done with my sets of the Sapphire light. There are many ways to go with this light and I have chosen one path. Peter will no doubt explain what he is up to with his sets when the timing is right for him.
The LE I am using consists of a Nichia 310DS LED and it is overdriven at leat initially by the converter provided by Arc. Arc has had extensive experience with the converter and the Nichia LED's and I defer to their expertise on these matters. The tint of these LED's is certainly up there in color temp. The 310DS has a wide and relatively even flood distribution of light and it is the nature of this LED and the fact that it is not a popular LED in other small lights that is one of the strongest motivating factors for me in wanting a light that uses it. I am probably in a minority here with my preferences but at least now I have some of these lights built the way I want them and I can share additional lights with others of like mind.
From the images above, you can see that the light has a lanyard hole for split ring, lanyard, chain or what ever you wish. My preference on a key chain or pocket light like this is one of simplicity and straight, plumb hanging. The light will not tail stand without support and there is no H3 vial or provision for such.
I wanted a small light that was simple and impervious to any environment I might subject it to. I suspect this may be the first key chain type light hosting a lamp style LED behind a sealed sapphire window (hence the choice of name). I won't make any claims that this is a dive light but I personally plan to have one attached via a lanyard to my BC and expect it to be there, in back up, should the need ever arise.
My intent is to use lithium AAA bateries in my own Sapphires because I don't want any unpleasant surprise of a leaky battery or one that has vented its gases. The sapphire is a closed chamber and there is no provision for the release of internal pressure.
Well for an initial post, I think the word count is now excessive if not typical for me.
I would hope that this thread can be about the light itself and not pricing, sales and what have you. I will put that sort of information in the wave notification thread soon. Should you feel the need to discuss price, alternatives to the Sapphire or other such considerations, feel free to do so.
The Sapphire ultimately is what it is and to my knowledge and experience, does what I had hoped it would do.