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Thread: Beginners Guide to Hotwire Incandescents

  1. #1

    Lightbulb Beginners Guide to Hotwire Incandescents



    *Please consider this a work in progress until this notice is removed*




    Beginners Guide to Hotwire Incandescents


    Contents
    Post 01 - This Guide
    Post 02 - Recipes and Ratings
    Post 18 - Color Temperature Profiles
    Post ?? - Photographic Bulb Profiles
    Post ?? - Case Study: Mag vs SF
    Post ?? - Beam Shots



    Introduction
    Incans represent the original electric light source, starting with the first electric bulb and the first flashlight (so named in the US because blinking/flashing was employed to extend battery life). Hotwire incans are the greatest expression of this original vision and are to be differentiated from other leading flashlight technologies, particularly HID and LED. For purposes here, hotwire means greater than normal light and heat.



    Background
    For most of the last decade, hotwire incans have pushed the limits of existing configurations, requiring increasing levels of skill, daring, and money. These requirements limited the appeal and popularity of incan flashlight creation and adoption. But we are seeing innovations that combine to create what I consider to be a new golden age of incans.

    Innovation #1 - Simple bi-pin adaptors
    Beyond generic bulbs are xenon bulbs. Beyond xenon bulbs are halogen bulbs. Beyond socketed (potted) halogen bulbs are bi-pin halogen bulbs. Designed for scientific instruments, the most popular bi-pins are out of place in most as-is flashlights. But thanks to FiveMega, bi-pins are right at home in two of the most popular host form factors, Mag C (as designated by battery size) and SureFire C (as designated by thread size).

    Innovation #2 - Fast discharge batteries
    The key to hotwires is voltage, double and triple what was considered normal 10-20 years ago. First there were multi cell adapters, holding multiple standard normal cells in magazines of various configurations (6AA->2D, 9AA->3D, 12AA->4D). Then, lithium ion cells came on the scene, increasing densities for voltage and energy. But such chemistries require expensive and often ill fitting protection circuitry to enable safe use. One of these protections is against over discharge, by limiting current flow, in direct contradiction to the high drain needs of incan bulbs (ie double-press to start).

    But thanks to AW, there are now IMR cells (LiMN - Lithium Manganese). Standard battery sizes, standard cost, high energy density, and high discharge rates (what incan bulbs crave most). And they fit right into popular flashlight bodies (hosts), without the need for expensive and troublesome adaptors.



    Build

    Step 1 - Host
    The first step in building this new kind of incan is choosing a host. This can be based on size/runtime requirements or simply by what you have sitting in your parts drawer (or on your mantle). Mag hosts cost less, but don’t come equipped with high temperature reflectors or lenses/windows. At this point (more to be added), there are 2 basic host options (small/big) and 2 voltage options (2 cell or 3 cell), but you are really only limited by budget and [FMs] imagination.

    Surefire “C” or compatible (small size, low runtime)
    2-cell - this can be a stock 6P, C2, Z2, etc (65 lumens @ 6.0v)
    3-cell - this can be a stock 9P, C3, Z3, etc (105 lumens @ 9.0v)

    2-cell - this can be a stock 9P, C3, Z3, etc with a dummy CR123A
    3-cell - this can be a stock 6P, C2, Z2, etc with a cell extender (A19 etc)


    Maglite (large size, high runtime)
    2-cell - this can be a stock Mag 2C (36.5 lumens @ 3.0v)
    3-cell - this can be a stock Mag 3C (76.8 lumens @ 4.5v)



    Step 2 - Batteries & Chargers
    Depending on how step 1 goes...
    Stock 6P = 2 AW IMR16340’s
    Stock 9P = 2 AW IMR17500’s (when available)
    Stock 9P = 3 AW IMR16340’s
    Stock Mag2C = 2 AW IMR26500's (see note 4)
    Stock Mag3C = 3 AW IMR26500's (see note 4)
    Modified Mag2D = 3 AW IMR26500's
    Modified Mag2C = 3 AW IMR16340’s (thanks Niteowl!)

    Available directly and through dealers


    C Cell Charger
    LITEmania Charger for C/IMR26500

    Basic Non C Chargers
    Ultrafire WF-138 Charger for RCR123A/IMR16340
    Ultrafire WF-139 Charger for 17500/17670/18500/18650
    Also available directly and through dealers

    Advanced Non C Charger
    Pila IBC for RCR123A/IMR16340/17500/17670/18500/18650




    Step 3 - Bulb Sockets et al

    Surefire
    FiveMega G4 D26 SUNLIGHT for $urefire (includes high temp MOP reflector)

    Maglite
    FiveMega G4 bi-pin socket for M*g (lens & reflector extra, see step 5)
    Unlike the SF socket, this design currently lacks a retaining screw
    Its necessary to gently bend the bulb pins so they stay in the socket
    Pins bent in this way will be harder to insert into SF sockets



    Step 4 - Bulbs
    There are two types of incan bulbs, potted and bi-pin. Potted are the standard style that has been popular for a century, drop the half metal module into the socket and screw down the retaining collar. Bi-pins, as their name implies, are almost bare glass with two pins protruding from the bottom. For the purposes of this guide, bi-pin bulbs require one of the adapters from Step 3, potted bulbs (Mag only) do not. This is not a comprehensive list of bulbs, merely those that work best with these hosts & cells.

    To little voltage and bulbs produce inefficient yellow light. To much voltage and you destroy the bulb. The ideal is to the overdrive it enough to get brighter/whiter output without pushing it to far. Easy to do with regulation (step 5), but more trial and error without it. See post 2 for tested non-regulated configurations. At 3.7 volts per cell, 2 cell setups are 7.4 volts and 3 cell setups are 11.1 volts. More amps (a) equals more lumens (L) but it also means more heat and less runtime.




    Maglite only (bi-pin socket not needed)
    2 cell bulbs - 7.4v (8.4 volts fresh off charger)
    Potted Pelican 3853L: 290L @ 7.2v - 1.50a | LuxRating: 360L at 8.0v - 1.60a (see note 7)
    Potted Pelican 3853H: 600L @ 7.2v - 3.40a | LuxRating: 928L at 8.4v - 3.70a (see note 7)


    Maglite & SureFire
    2 cell bulbs - 7.4v (8.4 volts fresh off charger)
    Bi-Pin WA 01274: 553L @ 7.2v - 2.77a | LuxRating: 864L at 8.4v - 3.10a
    Bi-Pin WA 01111: 465L @ 6.0v - 3.35a | LuxRating: 874L at 7.4v - 3.80a

    3 cell bulbs - 11.1v (12.6 volts fresh off charger)
    Bi-Pin WA 01166: 704L @ 11.6 - 1.97a | LuxRating: 870L at 12.6v - 2.06a
    Bi-Pin WA 01331: 534L @ 9.6v - 1.93a | LuxRating: 700L at 11.1v - 2.15a
    Bi-Pin WA 01185: 817L @ 9.6v - 3.15a | LuxRating: 1401L at 11.2v - 3.40a

    [Information courtesy of LuxLuthor and Litho123 (purchase link)]




    Step 5 - Options & Extras

    Mag reflectors (C & D)
    Basic
    http://www.kaidomain.com/ProductDeta...ProductId=5633

    Advanced
    http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...d.php?t=207494


    Mag Lenses (C & D)
    http://www.flashlightlens.com/str/in...&ref=boro_lens (direct)
    http://www.lighthound.com/521mm-Boro...ghts_p_43.html (dealer)


    Mag Heatsinks (C only)
    http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...d.php?t=168722



    Regulation (advanced voltage and output control)
    AW Softstart / 3 level Incan Driver Switch for SureFire 'C'
    http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...d.php?t=213751

    AW Softstart / 3 level Incan Driver Switch for Maglite C
    http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...d.php?t=185688

    AW Softstart / 3 level Incan Driver Switch for Maglite D
    http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...d.php?t=177316




    Step 6 - Adjust Focus (optional)
    Beam quality/behavior is determined by the relationship between the bulb and the reflector. For example, the larger the reflector, relative to the bulb size, the more control you will have and the more light can be projected (think spot light). The other key factor is the position of the filament (the coil inside the bulb) relative to the bottom of the reflector.


    Surefire
    For optimum bulb placement in a SF configuration, begin by positioning the filament just above the bottom opening in the reflector, then fine tune from there. This is controlled in the FM socket by unlocking, then turning the brass bulb base inside the aluminum housing. When ready, point it at a wall or ceiling. If there is a dark spot in the center (aka donut), the bulb is probably positioned to high.

    Maglite (with cam)
    Unlike the SF configuration which is set during assembly, Mags are adjusted during use. If you have a cam (an angle cut tube extending from the bottom of the cone) equipped reflector, loosen/tighten the head of the light in half turns to get the desired focus. If you would like to control the focus starting-point when the head is fully tightened, see my Mag calibration guide.

    Maglite (no cam)
    If your reflector lacks a cam (or its removed), adjustment is similar to having a cam, just slower and more precise. It can take several full revolutions to equal a half twist with a cam. The configurations shown here work both with and without a cam, so the choice is yours: fast or slow focus.




    Step 7 - Enjoy!




    Extra Configurations

    SureFire: LumensFactory IMR Ready Drop-Ins (more info)

    MagCharger: to upgrade a MagCharger, ignore most of this guide and add a Mica shield (when available) and 1160 bulbs from Litho123. 5761 bulbs also work but reliable operation requires replacing the plastic socket with a ceramic socket (also from FM) and enlarged reflector opening.




    Extra Reading





    Notes


    1. These configurations are capable of producing intense amounts of heat. Keep out of reach of children. Do not leave any light unattended while running. Take care when storing your completed lights so they will not activate accidently.
    2. While utilizing "safe chemistries," IMR cells are capable of releasing enormous energy. Read AWs warning and cautions before use and familiarize yourself with standard handling protocols.
    3. IMR cells will last longer if they are not deeply discharged. For maximum life, turn off your light as soon as it starts to dim and recharge the batteries as soon as possible.
    4. IMR 26500 cells are slightly to wide to fit into standard Mag C's. You can either enlarge your Mag's opening (link) or reduce the thickness of your cells (link)
    5. Get yourself some high purity rubbing alcohol (90+). After a bulb is handled and before it is turned on, wipe it down. This helps prevent poof.
    6. If you want the ability to swap bulbs in the field with SF configurations, pre-load (and test) two complete FM sockets and have the extra ready. Change out dead bulbs after you get back.
    7. Standard 6 volt ROP bulbs (model 3854), while happy in most dual Lithium-Ion configurations, cannot handle the higher voltage produced by the IMR26500 cells presented in this guide. For these cells, 7.2 volt ROP bulbs (model 3853) are recommended, available at Battery Station.


    Last edited by ElectronGuru; 06-30-2009 at 09:42 PM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Beginners Guide to Hotwire Incandescents

    Recipes and Ratings


    2-Cell Surefire
    Surefire74
    Take SF 6P, add FM SunLight Socket, 1274 bulb, and 2 IMR16340’s



    Surefire11 *Good*
    Take SF 6P, add FM SunLight Socket, 1111 bulb, and 2 IMR16340’s
    Bulb output is proportional to the reflector, with an bright hotspot
    Heats up quickly and drains the cells to fast to be useful, runtime:
    Color is warm white
    Good combination, but it needs bigger cells (like 18mm body/cells)





    3-Cell Surefire
    Surefire31 *Excellent*
    Take SF 9P, add FM SunLight Socket, 1331 bulb, and 3 IMR16340’s
    Bulb output is proportional to the reflector, with an excellent (if oblong) hotspot
    Heat build up is gradual with reasonable battery life, runtime:
    Color is warm white
    Great combination



    Surefire85 *Okay*
    Take SF 9P, add FM SunLight Socket, 1185 bulb, and 3 IMR16340’s
    Bulb output is larger than the reflector can handle so the hotspot is weak
    Heats up rapidly and drains the cells to fast to be useful, runtime:
    Color is neutral white
    Okay combination, needs bigger cells and & larger reflector (see Surefire31 & Mag85)



    Surefire66 *Weak*
    Take SF 9P, add FM SunLight Socket, 1166 bulb, and 3 IMR16340’s
    Bulb is underdriven, so general output is low, including the hotspot
    Weak combination, needs more voltage (more cells, bigger cells, etc) (see Mag66)





    2-Cell Maglite
    MagROP-High *Excellent*
    Take Mag 2C, add 7.2v ROP-H bulb, 2 IMR26500’s, MOP reflector, and lens (see note 7)
    Bulb output is proportional to the reflector, with a broad hotspot
    Heat build up is gradual with reasonable battery life, runtime:
    Color is warm white
    Great combination, indoor night use is best with sunglasses



    MagROP-Low *Good*
    Take Mag 2C, add 7.2v ROP-L bulb, 2 IMR26500’s, MOP reflector, and lens (see note 7)
    Bulb output is proportional to the reflector, with a round hotspot
    Heat build up is gradual with excellent battery life, runtime:
    Color is warm white
    Good combination, however output is less than other configurations



    Mag74
    Take Mag 2C, add FM G4 Socket, 1274 bulb, 2 IMR26500’s, MOP reflector, and lens



    Mag11
    Take Mag 2C, add FM G4 Socket, 1111 bulb, 2 IMR26500’s, MOP reflector, and lens
    Fresh off the charger, these batteries blow this bulb (0.1 volts over limit)
    Poof City, consider smaller cells, regulation or resting your cells before use





    3-Cell Maglite
    Mag85 *Excellent*
    Caution: let your cells rest overnight before use to minimize poof
    Bulb output is proportional to the reflector, with an excellent hotspot
    Heat build up is rapid with good battery life, runtime:
    Color is warm white
    Great combination



    Mag66 *Good*
    Take Mag 3C, add FM G4 Socket, 1166 bulb, 3 IMR26500’s, MOP reflector, and lens
    Bulb output is proportional to the reflector, with an excellent hotspot
    Heat build up is gradual with excellent battery life, runtime:
    Color is warm white
    Good combination



    Mag31
    Take Mag 3C, add FM G4 Socket, 1331 bulb, 3 IMR26500’s, MOP reflector, and lens
    Fresh off the charger, these batteries blow this bulb (0.6 volts over limit)
    Poof City, consider smaller cells, regulation or resting your cells before use




    Last edited by ElectronGuru; 05-20-2009 at 07:14 PM.

  3. #3
    Flashaholic
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    Default Re: A beginners guide to plug-n-play hotwire incans

    Awesome thread!!! I had no idea 5M was doing the Surefire adapters. Gotta get one.

    Thanks!

  4. #4
    Flashaholic Seiko's Avatar
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    Default Re: A beginners guide to plug-n-play hotwire incans

    Great post!
    Though it starts with a fist, it must end with your mind.
    DIY P7 in a 2C M@g for around $30

  5. #5
    Flashaholic* rockz4532's Avatar
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    Default Re: A beginners guide to plug-n-play hotwire incans

    My ROP is a 2D with homebrew Li-ion adapter, with 2x AW protected 17670's and low bulb. I'll see how it works when I get the bulb tomorrow.
    Fenix: TK10, P2D Q5, LD01, L0P-SE, Nitecore D10, Inova X5, Surefire G2, Mag ROP-LE, Quark AA-Neutral

  6. #6
    Flashaholic
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    Default Re: A beginners guide to plug-n-play hotwire incans

    Would this thread be considered "Sticky" material?
    --------------------------------------------------------------
    ********************************************

  7. #7
    Flashaholic* Outdoors Fanatic's Avatar
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    Default Re: A beginners guide to plug-n-play hotwire incans

    Great post!!

    Thanks a lot.

    ElectronGuru,

    You should put this in your guide: the new Charger for 'C' Li-ion batteries or 26500 IMR cells -->> http://www.cpfmarketplace.com/mp/sho...d.php?t=160022

    Cheers
    Last edited by Outdoors Fanatic; 04-13-2009 at 11:26 PM. Reason: Link added

  8. #8
    Flashaholic* Outdoors Fanatic's Avatar
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    Default Re: A beginners guide to plug-n-play hotwire incans

    Quote Originally Posted by rockz4532 View Post
    My ROP is a 2D with homebrew Li-ion adapter, with 2x AW protected 17670's and low bulb. I'll see how it works when I get the bulb tomorrow.
    2x18650 IMRs would be a lot better....

  9. #9

    Default Re: A beginners guide to plug-n-play hotwire incans

    Quote Originally Posted by Outdoors Fanatic View Post
    You should put this in your guide: the new Charger for 'C' Li-ion batteries or 26500 IMR cells
    Good point OF, charger section added!

  10. #10
    Flashaholic* Outdoors Fanatic's Avatar
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    Default Re: A beginners guide to plug-n-play hotwire incans

    Quote Originally Posted by ElectronGuru View Post
    Good point OF, charger section added!
    Another great charger --and safer for regular li-ion cells-- than the Ultrafires is the very reliable Pila IBC charger. Available here: http://www.bugoutgearusa.com/bach.html


    Another observation,

    3-Cell SureFire users can also choose to run 2x17500 IMRs and use the same lamps as in the "2-Cell" options to get longer runtimes.


    Thanks for the update.
    Cheers
    Last edited by Outdoors Fanatic; 04-14-2009 at 12:11 AM.

  11. #11

    Default Re: A beginners guide to plug-n-play hotwire incans

    Thanks for the notes OF. I'm going order a few more parts from this fancy guide, then take out the camera and start filling in the examples.

    Might even get crazy and try my hand at beam shots.
    Last edited by ElectronGuru; 04-14-2009 at 12:44 AM.

  12. #12
    Flashaholic* R@ndom's Avatar
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    Default Re: A beginners guide to plug-n-play hotwire incans

    Dude it goes like this generic(argon/vacuum)<halogen<krypton<xenon in order of reverse efficency not generic<xenon<halogen.

  13. #13
    *Flashaholic* LuxLuthor's Avatar
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    Default Re: A beginners guide to plug-n-play hotwire incans

    I have not commented on PM's or thread because once you really get into incans, there are so many options, developments, customizations that it seems too hard to cover them all.

    For example, in bulbs there have been revolutionary developments in addition to bipins of filament shape, orientation, size, material, glass material, thickness, optical and thermal properties, infrared reflective coating (i.e. Osram "IRC" bulbs), Osram's Ministar with reflector coating built into the bulb. Then there are wide varieties of bulb wattages, longer life ratings, ability to be overdriven, bulb lumen ratings, heat issues, etc. The destructive testing link in my sig gives a good idea of bulb performance, but not overdriving life.

    Reflectors have a similar wide variety of shapes, focal lenghts, diameters, bore sizes, surface coatings, durability, etc.

    Switches come in many styles, functions, sizes, location on side, tail, and/or twisting body. They have various amp/resistance ratings. Then the biggest revolution is switches that are soft starting (AW which you mentioned), regulating voltage switches (AWR, AlanB/JimmyM), multi-level, programmable functions like low voltage battery protection shutoff.

    Batteries are a whole other topic with primary & secondary options that include various NiMH and Lithium Ion cells (which I tried to categorize here). Chargers are another large topic....

    So like I started, there is so much information to cover, I was overwhelmed by trying to contribute all I have learned into a single thread.

  14. #14

    Default Re: A beginners guide to plug-n-play hotwire incans

    Quote Originally Posted by R@ndom View Post
    Dude it goes like this generic(argon/vacuum)<halogen<krypton<xenon in order of reverse efficency not generic<xenon<halogen.
    I was going more for "advanced" (able to output) than "efficient," making the assumption that less powerful bulbs are less advanced. Would you say that krypton, for example, is more advanced than halogen?


    Quote Originally Posted by LuxLuthor View Post
    there is so much information to cover, I was overwhelmed by trying to contribute all I have learned into a single thread.
    Thanks Lux and no worries. Its through efforts like yours that those of us who are new (or newer) get up to speed, enjoying this passion to its fullest.
    Last edited by ElectronGuru; 04-21-2009 at 12:21 PM.

  15. #15
    Flashaholic* ANDREAS FERRARI's Avatar
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    Default Re: A beginners guide to plug-n-play hotwire incans

    Great start ElectronGuru! You may want to add the Magcharger to this list.Already comes with a bi-pin switch and aluminum reflector and by simply installing a Phillips 5761 bulb(or other 6v bulb) you get a 700lm. monster that will out throw 99% of the lights out there.
    My girlfriend said if I bought one more light she would leave me...........I'm sure gonna miss her.

  16. #16
    Flashaholic* R@ndom's Avatar
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    Default Re: A beginners guide to plug-n-play hotwire incans

    My bad halogen bulbs is actually plain krypton, xenon etc with a halogen added therefore it is more advanced and efficent. But I do remember reading a few threads from 2001 that davidw and all the old people was talking about how xenon bulbs just became available. Mayby thats how I got confused.

  17. #17

    Default Re: A beginners guide to plug-n-play hotwire incans

    Quote Originally Posted by ANDREAS FERRARI View Post
    You may want to add the Magcharger to this list.
    Extra Config section added. Thanks!

  18. #18

    Default Re: Beginners Guide to Hotwire Incandescents

    Color Temperature Profiles


    Closer to gray is better, click here for more info...

































    Last edited by ElectronGuru; 05-23-2009 at 11:24 PM.

  19. #19
    Flashaholic LIGHTSMAD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Beginners Guide to Hotwire Incandescents

    if you could add WA1160 possibilities......which is a super bright setup!
    INCAN:KT2 9P BODY+102MM EXT 18650X3 WA1185/MC61 7.2V/3D MAG85/2C MAG61/2C MAG11 /9P 18500X2 FM1794! LED:MRV P7 2.8A D-BIN/AUROURA P7/INOVA T5 TIROS/XO TIROS/X5/X1 TIROS/X1 REFLECTOR/P3D Q5/P1D CE/ROMISEN Q5!

  20. #20
    Flashaholic My3KidsDad!'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Beginners Guide to Hotwire Incandescents

    ElectronGuru-

    Just wanted to say thanks for putting your experiences down for us newbies to incans. Things are way crazier here in incans than in the led world. I'll be trying things out for years to figure it all out.. Thanks again.
    Jesus is the Light of the World.

  21. #21
    Flashaholic*
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    Default Re: Beginners Guide to Hotwire Incandescents

    I would change the label for your step 5 from "Options & extras" to "Also Required". Those bulbs will melt the Mag reflectors and lenses.
    Endeavor to eschew obfuscation.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Beginners Guide to Hotwire Incandescents

    In the "regulation" section, you only reference the AW softstarter, which doesn't actually regulate. You may want to rename that section to "Advanced Switching & Control" then split it into 2 sub-sections. One for soft starting (AW) and another section for regulation (AlanB's, wquille's, and JimmyM's)

  23. #23

    Default Re: Beginners Guide to Hotwire Incandescents

    Any mention of 5761?

  24. #24

    Default Re: Beginners Guide to Hotwire Incandescents

    Quote Originally Posted by Badger_Girl View Post
    Any mention of 5761?
    I'm a bit distracted by other projects right now, so this thread is sorely in need of some updates (thanks everyone!).

    Short answer: I havn't yet blown enough 5761's to recommend its use on two 26500's without regulation, a minimum qualification for the Beginners Guide. If someone will find the safe rest period, I'm happy to add it!

  25. #25
    Flashaholic* R@ndom's Avatar
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    Default Re: Beginners Guide to Hotwire Incandescents

    Quote Originally Posted by ElectronGuru View Post
    I'm a bit distracted by other projects right now, so this thread is sorely in need of some updates (thanks everyone!).

    Short answer: I havn't yet blown enough 5761's to recommend its use on two 26500's without regulation, a minimum qualification for the Beginners Guide. If someone will find the safe rest period, I'm happy to add it!
    I 'rest' my cells by hooking it up to a 50 watt par lamp.

  26. #26
    Flashaholic* Nite's Avatar
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    Default Re: Beginners Guide to Hotwire Incandescents

    great thread great resources thanks!

    Id love to see FiveMegas Bi pin D26 series adaptors....another 1.5mm socket, Included in the list, I was surprised it wasnt. I think the G4 socket he invented was much more recent than the older 1.5mm socket.

    Those Can really put out some serious power with the right ammo.
    My Father, WonderLite, sells FM1794 bulbs, FiveMega 18mm Bodies, and AW cells on CPFM. www.nitemods.com

  27. #27
    Flashaholic* LEDAdd1ct's Avatar
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    Default Re: Beginners Guide to Hotwire Incandescents

    Thanks for this guide. It is helpful!
    "...and the diode multiplied and grew in brightness. And God saw that it was good."

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