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Thread: You will love this NASA penlight

  1. #1
    Flashaholic* Barbarin's Avatar
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    Default You will love this NASA penlight

    Now this project is on Kickstarter!



    This is the story. I took a design of flashlight that was used by Apollo project astronauts and issued to all of them. In my honest opinion, a superb design made specifically to meet the requirements of the mission. It was 1968, the penlight was provided by ACR Electronics, but made by Fulton Industries.

    It was not easy to get the right dimensions, but finally I got them. I kept it externally almost identical to the original, but added a warm white high CRI LED (Cree XPL-HI), and matched it with a wide angle optic, as I considered that the light was intended to be used on the small available room of a capsule. This flashlight also has a "battery vampire" type circuit, providing 150 lm maximum output, but long, long hours of light. As you know using AA alkaline batteries will provide you many hours of reliable output, with no fast drop at the end of the battery life. And of course, I'm a diving flashlights manufacturer... so I made it waterproof. Not for diving, but to give it more reliability.

    Hope you like it.













    Yes, I do find brass too heavy for a pocket flashlight... Not to mention if I had to send it to the moon and every gram was going to cost me thousands of US$. BUT I guess they just didn't made them from titanium because it was not easily available, at all. That was not my case.



    Do you want to have a reproduction of a piece of history? Let me know.


    UPDATED: 4-5-2017

    Here you are the first runtime I made. AS you can see the LED used was a neutral white one, whith very high CRI. On production I plan to use warm white, as it is much more similar to the original penlight.
    The driver is getting 380 mA on the LED on T=0, and as you can see the efficiency of the underdriven XPL-HI is amazing. The test was performed with IKEA alkaline batteries, which are not the best ones but they do have a good quality. Alkaline batteries are not made for high drain, so that is the reason of the fast drop caused by the internal resistance. In exchange, an alkaline battery will self recover, and even 30 minutes after the test (batteries at that point had a 0,7V and 0,9 V voltage respectively) they did produced more than 100 lm for a minute or so.

    It seems little light for nowadays standards, but it is 10 times brighter than the original, and the flux is even too much for the environment of a capsule, on a the dark space.




    UPDATE 5-V-2017.

    Replaced pictures for better quality ones.

    Changes to be done on final product. Knurling, needs to me more similar to the original one. Engraving, will be done deeper, as the original.

    UPDATE 16-V-2017

    New runtime chart added. Improved circuit, improved cooling, and definitive warm white LED (XPL-HI), high CRI. Alkaline IKEA batteries.
    Results, as you can see, are much better. Just maximum output is lower, but it is because of the LED color temperature.

    This light will give you an integrated value of 102,94 lm during 3 hours 35 minutes using alkalines. (to 50% of initial output)

    But as you now alkalines are not happy with this kind of work. Tomorrow I plan to update with a runtime chart with NiMH 2500



    UPDATE 17-V-15 (1)

    Outdoor pictures, comparing the Barbolight Apollo penlight vs. a Nitecore NU20.

    The NU20 is supposed to produce 220 lm on high level. Well, my unit is putting out a nice amount of lumens for such a tiny headlamp, but the real output according to my integrating sphere is 155 lm, cold white, spot+corona. The Apollo is 100 lm with semi fresh batteries, warm white, high CRI, floody light.













    Hope you like them

    UPDATE 17-V-17 (2)

    Runtime chart with "dead" batteries. The batteries I used for the runtime test you can see above were allowed to rest for 24 hours. After that they are still good enough for more than 75 lm (average) during 45 minutes.




    UPDATE 19-5-17

    Detail pictures of improved knurling and laser engraving depth.





    Last edited by Barbarin; 07-19-2017 at 01:56 AM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: You will love this NASA flashlight

    That looks pretty awesome to me. Please send me a PM with additional information.

  3. #3
    Flashaholic*
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    Default Re: You will love this NASA flashlight

    Would like more info please

  4. #4

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    Default Re: You will love this NASA flashlight

    man thats awesome! i am definitely interested in one!

  5. #5

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    Default Re: You will love this NASA flashlight

    Very cool. Interested in the titanium version.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: You will love this NASA flashlight

    I would like more information as well thanks - PM or via the thread
    Last edited by phosphor22; 05-03-2017 at 05:25 PM.

  7. #7
    Unenlightened
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    Default Re: You will love this NASA flashlight

    Beautiful!

  8. #8

    Default Re: You will love this NASA flashlight

    I love it!

  9. #9

    Default Re: You will love this NASA flashlight

    Masterpiece

  10. #10

    Default Re: You will love this NASA flashlight

    How much?

  11. #11

    Default Re: You will love this NASA flashlight

    More info and pricing for both brass and ti. Please pm me
    Thanks

  12. #12
    Flashaholic* Tejasandre's Avatar
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    Default Re: You will love this NASA flashlight

    Nice.

  13. #13
    RUSH FAN's Avatar
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    Default Re: You will love this NASA flashlight

    Count me in for titanium!

  14. #14
    Capolini's Avatar
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    Default Re: You will love this NASA flashlight

    Very nice.Nice tint!

    Looks like single mode?
    A resentment is a cancer that eats us away from the inside and is portrayed by our attitude from the outside. Capolini-6.4.2003
    Physical beauty temporarily satisfies the eye. Inner beauty is eternal and nurtures the soul. Capolini-7.23.2017









  15. #15

    Popcorn Re: You will love this NASA flashlight

    A little late to the party, but I'm interested, as well, in prices for both versions. And if you decide to make several to meet the demand I know at least one of my nephews would love one as well! Thanks
    Last edited by Zandar; 05-03-2017 at 07:08 PM.

  16. #16
    *Flashaholic* Str8stroke's Avatar
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    Default Re: You will love this NASA flashlight

    Totally awesome. I want!

    What material did they use for NASA? I would assume Aluminum due to weight reasons. But, I could see how they could have used Ti? Anyways, Great work & a really cool tribute too. Thanks.
    Interested in Saltytri lights. Pm me!


  17. #17
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    archimedes's Avatar
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    Default Re: You will love this NASA flashlight

    Quote Originally Posted by Str8stroke View Post
    Totally awesome. I want!

    What material did they use for NASA? I would assume Aluminum due to weight reasons. But, I could see how they could have used Ti? Anyways, Great work & a really cool tribute too. Thanks.
    Brass ....

    http://spaceflownartifacts.com/flown_flashlights.html
    ... is the archimedes peak

  18. #18

    Default Re: You will love this NASA flashlight

    Wonderful link Archimedes.

    Barbarin.....I'd be interested in a titanium version!

  19. #19
    Enlightened Ray-o-light's Avatar
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    Default Re: You will love this NASA flashlight

    I would be interested in a brass model. Thanks
    Hey Babe, check out my new light!

  20. #20

    Default Re: You will love this NASA flashlight

    If you do a run of brass I would purchase one.

  21. #21

    Default Re: You will love this NASA flashlight

    Great idea, PM sent.

  22. #22
    Unenlightened
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    Default Re: You will love this NASA flashlight

    Wow, nice! I would be interested in the titanium one

  23. #23

    Default Re: You will love this NASA flashlight

    Quote Originally Posted by archimedes View Post
    That is a great link! Thank you for posting it.

    .
    .
    .

    EDIT: And with that being my 100th post, I have gone from being "enlightened" to a "flashaholic". I need one of these replica NASA flashlights to celebrate!
    Last edited by Alone In The Dark; 05-03-2017 at 10:46 PM.

  24. #24
    Flashaholic* vadimax's Avatar
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    Default Re: You will love this NASA flashlight

    Quote Originally Posted by archimedes View Post
    Holy cow... ACR FA-5 #1024 is valued $26290 Must be IT crowd was fighting for this one

    I hope reproduction lights will be a bit cheaper If price will be reasonable, I am in for both.
    Last edited by vadimax; 05-03-2017 at 11:14 PM.

  25. #25
    Flashaholic* Barbarin's Avatar
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    Default Re: You will love this NASA flashlight

    Yes, pure single mode. Remember that "KISS" principle? It seems it was originated around that time.

  26. #26
    Flashaholic* Barbarin's Avatar
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    Default Re: You will love this NASA flashlight

    Quote Originally Posted by Str8stroke View Post
    Totally awesome. I want!

    What material did they use for NASA? I would assume Aluminum due to weight reasons. But, I could see how they could have used Ti? Anyways, Great work & a really cool tribute too. Thanks.
    Maybe my calculations are wrong but on the Apollo XII every gram on the moon had a cost of 3500 US$. Then why did they used brass, which is almost three times the weight of aluminun? The lights being used on Gemini project were similar penlights with 2xAA batteries, and made from aluminum alloy... so why change to a new and heavier design? After the tragedy of the Apollo I probably they wanted a material less flammable (aluminun will be a flare on pure oxygen atmosphere), and spark proof. Is the only reason I can think of. Nowadays they would have choosen titanium, which was not available on that time. (Check the interesting story behind the SR71 Blackbird and how did CIA managed to get the much needed titanium from the USSR).

  27. #27
    Flashaholic* Barbarin's Avatar
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    Default Re: You will love this NASA flashlight

    Quote Originally Posted by staticx57 View Post
    Would like more info please
    Updated information on post #1.

  28. #28
    Flashaholic* hombreluhrs's Avatar
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    Default Re: You will love this NASA flashlight

    I would take a brass.
    MALKOFF SIMPLICITY!

  29. #29

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    Default Re: You will love this NASA flashlight

    i would just like to bump my interest. thats a nice runtime graph, just imagine how well an energizer lithium would do. any kind of timeline on this project? seems to be a lot of interest already. id take whichever metal is available first, brass or titanium.

  30. #30

    Default Re: You will love this NASA flashlight

    Very nice looking lights would be interested in one of them.
    You will have to put me down for one of each.
    Last edited by wyoben; 05-05-2017 at 12:45 PM.

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