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Thread: SST-50 homemade spotlight

  1. #1

    Default SST-50 homemade spotlight

    Hi everyone, I have just now joined the forums but they have been a source of knowledge and inspiration in the past. I became sort of obsessed with building this LED thrower.




    A short focal length lens collects most of the light from the LED and the large fresnel lens focuses it far away. The LED is actually inside the focal length of the small lens, creating a virtual image that the large lens sees. The large fresnel lens is 13" in diameter.



    The power source is two 18650 Li-ion batteries on the backside. The voltage is regulated and adjustable by turning the blue potentiometer. The voltage regulator is one made by fujitsu that I got from mouser.com. Its max output current is 8A.



    Further away, the LED appears to fill the entire lens.




    That tower is about 250 meters away. The current was about 5A in these pictures. I don't really have a good spot nearby to do beamshots, but I was able to illuminate a tower about 900 meters away before.

    Thanks for looking.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: SST-50 homemade spotlight

    WOW!! Welcome to CPF, EasyB !!

    That is a spectacular first post - what a superb light! Brace yourself for a lot of questions and comments from admiring members!
    Resistance is futile...

  3. #3
    Flashaholic* ninemm's Avatar
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    Default Re: SST-50 homemade spotlight

    Quote Originally Posted by DM51 View Post
    WOW!! Welcome to CPF, EasyB !!

    That is a spectacular first post - what a superb light! Brace yourself for a lot of questions and comments from admiring members!
    Yep, what he said! Welcome and awesome job. Very unique and the quality of the build looks great.

  4. #4
    Flashaholic* John_Galt's Avatar
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    Default Re: SST-50 homemade spotlight

    Super nice light, man!

    Two things: What kind of 18650's are they? For such a high current drain, I would suggest a couple of AW brand IMR 18650's. They have noticeably lower capacity compared to some other cells out there, but they are able to be safely discharged at ridiculously high rates, with minimal voltage drop.

    The other thing is more heatsinking. This is probably a short-time only thing, but to ensure maximum output for a long period, I would suggest finding another mounting point for the batteries, and putting a large CPU finned heat-sink on the back of that chunk of aluminum.

    But again, very nice!
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  5. #5
    Flashaholic* Linger's Avatar
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    Default Re: SST-50 homemade spotlight

    Sick.
    Excellent beam-shots.
    Thank-you.
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  6. #6

    Default Re: SST-50 homemade spotlight

    Quote Originally Posted by John_Galt View Post
    Super nice light, man!

    Two things: What kind of 18650's are they? For such a high current drain, I would suggest a couple of AW brand IMR 18650's. They have noticeably lower capacity compared to some other cells out there, but they are able to be safely discharged at ridiculously high rates, with minimal voltage drop.

    The other thing is more heatsinking. This is probably a short-time only thing, but to ensure maximum output for a long period, I would suggest finding another mounting point for the batteries, and putting a large CPU finned heat-sink on the back of that chunk of aluminum.

    But again, very nice!
    Thanks for the suggestions; you're right it is kind of a short term novelty light right now. It's a fairly sizable chunk of aluminum; after it being on for several minutes the metal was slightly warm to the touch.

    I checked the battery voltage the other day and it was 3.93V per cell open circuit, 3.81V full power. They are Tenergy 2600 mAh cells from batteryjunction.

  7. #7
    Flashaholic* mrartillery's Avatar
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    Default Re: SST-50 homemade spotlight

    Nice light! And BTW +1 on excellent first post!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: SST-50 homemade spotlight

    Great effort! Could you share more on the specific voltage regulator you used?

  9. #9
    Flashaholic* JamisonM's Avatar
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    Default Re: SST-50 homemade spotlight

    Bookmarked. I can't wait to see what it can do when it's really tested!
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  10. #10

    Default Re: SST-50 homemade spotlight

    Quote Originally Posted by gt40 View Post
    Great effort! Could you share more on the specific voltage regulator you used?
    Sure, here is the product page:
    http://www.mouser.com/ProductDetail/...FiiObSlA%3d%3d

    The voltage specs are there. The output voltage is adjusted by changing the resistance between two contacts on the regulator. You can see it in the electronics closeup pic above. It's at the bottom right; about 3x1cm. The output voltage doesn't change when the load changes, which is a nice feature.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: SST-50 homemade spotlight

    Very impressive first post.

    That's a very cool spotlight....I like the skeletonized look.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: SST-50 homemade spotlight

    very nice , where did you source the lenses............marty

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    Default Re: SST-50 homemade spotlight

    That is awesome, I cant wait to see what kind of edc's you start to make.

  14. #14
    Flashaholic* Linger's Avatar
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    Default Re: SST-50 homemade spotlight

    Quote Originally Posted by js-lots View Post
    cant wait to see what kind of edc's you start to make.
    Is that a fresnel in your pocket or are you just happy to edc?
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  15. #15
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    Default Re: SST-50 homemade spotlight

    +1 What an amazing dual lens design you got there! Great solution for all the dead light usually produced by normal fisheye flashlights

    Where did you get those lens's!?

  16. #16
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    Default Re: SST-50 homemade spotlight

    Very nice work.

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  17. #17
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    Default Re: SST-50 homemade spotlight

    Wow, I'll have to echo the others in saying that was an amazing first post!

    It makes me want to try a dual optic Maglite mod... with something smaller like an XR-E or XP-E. I'd have no idea where to start though!


  18. #18

    Default Re: SST-50 homemade spotlight

    Whoops I thought I mentioned this in the post; the lenses are from edmund optics. You can get somewhere a 4'x3' fresnel lens used in projection TVs. That would make a spotlight a bit less portable than mine, but it would shine something powerful.

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    Flashaholic* ^Gurthang's Avatar
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    Default Re: SST-50 homemade spotlight

    Easy,

    Welcome and a tip 'o the hat for your project. Love the "light saber" pic, sorta like the Martian's heat ray from War of the Worlds all you need to add is the hissing sound....
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  20. #20
    *Flashaholic* kramer5150's Avatar
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    Default Re: SST-50 homemade spotlight

    oh Lordy!!! I just soiled my boxers @ that beamshot.

    Awesome work, very impressed with your fabrication skills.

    Curious...
    How come so much light is being spilled out to the immediate sides? The light thats illuminating you as you hold it... where is that light coming from? Is it being reflected back at you off the lens surfaces?
    Last edited by kramer5150; 07-09-2010 at 11:21 AM.
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  21. #21

    Default Re: SST-50 homemade spotlight

    Holy Smokes, that is way beyond cool! Thanks for posting this - it is unusually interesting.

  22. #22

    Default Re: SST-50 homemade spotlight

    Wow. Really impressive first post. Nice work.

    and



  23. #23
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    Default Re: SST-50 homemade spotlight

    Great project
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  24. #24

    Default Re: SST-50 homemade spotlight

    I'm not sure if this is something you've already considered in your regulator setup. But here is a good thread discussing a potential problem using a voltage regulator instead of a constant current regulator with an LED. Luminus says the SST-50's Vf temperature coefficient is -4.4 mV/ºC @ 1.75 amps. I'm guessing that value goes up at higher current levels. KillingTime mentions in post #3 of that thread after a 30 minute runtime test, the Vf of his SST-50 had dropped enough to trigger his regulator's hiccup mode for short circuit protection at 10 amps. In post #19, pepko describes his use of a thermistor to compensate for the LED's drop in forward voltage. I don't know if he set that up by trial and error or what. Of course the best would be a good constant current regulator.


  25. #25

    Default Re: SST-50 homemade spotlight

    Quote Originally Posted by kramer5150 View Post
    oh Lordy!!! I just soiled my boxers @ that beamshot.

    Awesome work, very impressed with your fabrication skills.

    Curious...
    How come so much light is being spilled out to the immediate sides? The light thats illuminating you as you hold it... where is that light coming from? Is it being reflected back at you off the lens surfaces?
    Yes, I think it's just from the light that's peeking around the collection lens and from scattering off the lens surfaces. Gives you an idea of the significant amount of light lost upon going through lenses.

    Al Combs, I did consider the problem of current runaway, but I don't have a great solution, I just set the voltage so I have a bit of room for current increase and I think it's pretty well heat sinked, just what the original poster of that thread did. I monitored the current for few minutes and it was fairly stable.

  26. #26

    Default Re: SST-50 homemade spotlight

    Wow!! Very unique, that was more than I was expecting when I walked into this thread. Great job.
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  27. #27
    Flashaholic aurum's Avatar
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    Default Re: SST-50 homemade spotlight

    Hmm ... I don't see any pictures
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  28. #28
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    Default Re: SST-50 homemade spotlight

    No pictures!! Help I need to see this!!!

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  29. #29
    Flashaholic* bansuri's Avatar
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    Default Re: SST-50 homemade spotlight

    Quote Originally Posted by aurum View Post
    Hmm ... I don't see any pictures
    Same here, I'm starting to wonder if all the other posts are tongue-in-cheek?

  30. #30

    Default Re: SST-50 homemade spotlight

    Sorry everyone who hasn't seen the pics, you are really missing out.

    I was hosting the pics on some space provided to me by my school, but the whole system seems to be down right now. I'll put them somewhere else if I need to, but I hope they will be back up sometime soon.

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