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Thread: Fyrstormer's Evil Labs presents: McGizmo Makai, Pointless Edition

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    *Flashaholic* fyrstormer's Avatar
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    Default Fyrstormer's Evil Labs presents: McGizmo Makai, Pointless Edition

    IN A WORLD




    WITHOUT SMDs




    ONE MAN




    STILL WANTS




    LOTS OF LUMENS.







    Okay, enough of that silliness.

    First of all, to address the thread title: "Pointless" does not mean "stupid". One of the tenets of Zen Buddhism is that pointlessness means an action is taken purely for the sake of seeing what will happen, rather than trying to achieve a useful productive goal prescribed by best-practices and validated by business metrics. We all need some pointlessness in our lives; that's why we have hobbies.

    - - -

    I've always felt like high-flux 5mm LEDs never really got a fair shot at the high-end boutique flashlight market. Arrays of 5mm LEDs persist in the dollar-store flashlight market, but they're long gone from any designs people would pay real money for. Pretty much the only high-end flashlight I can think of in the past...8 years?...that used an array of 5mm LEDs is the Peak McKinley, which I was fortunate enough to buy in long-wearing stainless-steel just before it was discontinued.



    It's not surprising. After all, the same technological developments that enabled high-flux 5mm LEDs also enabled even-higher-flux surface-mount LEDs, so we flashaholics went with the design that had more potential, and the rest of the market followed-suit. But I've always thought arrays of 5mm LEDs have a certain charm, kind of like the alternate history of highly-advanced Victorian devices in the steampunk genre, so I decided to make a high-powered LEDpunk flashlight.

    I always liked the look of the Makai, but I didn't really need a thrower, so I never got one. But this project gave me an excuse to get a Makai, because I could make use of its large rocket-nozzle shaped head. Here's the result:



    I know what you're thinking: "Fyrstormer, that's insane! Why would you spend $600 to build a flashlight that isn't state of the art??" Because I got bored, dear reader, and I wanted a new toy. Next question?

    Anyway, here's how I put the thing together:

    To start with, I bought a cheap UV flashlight from Amazon, that had an array of 5mm emitters arranged in concentric circles. If there were no other space constraints, a hexagonal pattern would've been a denser array, but since it needs to fit in a round flashlight head, concentric circles is the densest array that will actually use all the available space. The original flashlight had 50-ish LEDs in 4 rings; I de-soldered all the original UV LEDs, used a bunch of de-soldering braid to mop-up the residual solder, cut down the board to remove the outermost ring, carefully sanded the edges until it was precisely 38.7mm diameter so it would fit snugly, widened each and every thru-hole, and soldered sockets into each pair of holes so I can easily replace the LEDs with better ones in the future. (assuming better ones ever get produced, of course.)



    The result is something that, to me, looks like it belongs in the Large Hadron Collider as a particle-detector grid, or something like that. I know that's just my pride of craftsmanship speaking, but whatever.

    Next, I added a JST power connector on the back of the board so I could unplug the board from the driver if/when I need to disassemble the head in the future. Then I took 29 of the highest-flux white LEDs I've ever seen -- the same 5-die LEDs that PhotonFanatic uses in his Killer AAA keychain lights -- and cut the wire leads so they would fit in the sockets on the board. (at 5 emitter dies per LED, that's a total of 145 emitter dies in this flashlight. I wonder if that's a CPF record? ) Then I plugged in all those LEDs, trimmed-down the alignment mask from the original flashlight to help keep the LEDs from getting tilted during installation, and installed a layer of decorative material on top of the mask to pretty-up everything a bit.



    I can hear you now: "Fyrstormer, is that leather? Did you put leather in a flashlight?" Yes I did. I wanted to give this flashlight that extra luxury touch, so I bought a sheet of nice leather on eBay and cut it to fit using a leather punch and heavy-duty scissors. As a bonus, it also does the same job as the O-rings surrounding the original Makai reflector, keeping the assembly snugly in-place inside the head.



    I really like the way this whole assembly looks; it's like a layer-cake made of electronics and dead cow.

    The last thing to do was install the driver assembly. I used the programmable HiveLD driver that came with the Makai, because why wouldn't I? It's a really good driver. First I removed the XP-L emitter from the MCPCB, in case I want to use it to upgrade one of my older lights at some point. (maybe one of my Jetbeam TC-R2's...but I digress.)



    Before installing the driver pill, I pre-twisted the power wires counterclockwise a few turns, so they would un-twist for the first few turns while I was screwing the driver pill into place. That will reduce the likelihood of the wires snapping loose from torsion. If I wanted to do it even better, I would've installed the driver pill before installing the LED assembly, since the LED assembly doesn't need to be screwed into place...but I didn't know if the LED assembly would need modification to fit, so it got installed first this time. As it turns out, the LED assembly fits perfectly into the head with no spacers required to keep it pressed against the glass! I'll take that as a small sign that the universe approved of my idea.

    After doing all that work, I was finally able to turn-on the light and see how it looked. Here's what I saw:



    I think it's really cool to see all those little wires connecting the 5 emitter dies in each LED to the main power leads. And in case you're wondering, no, it's not on the highest setting. This is brightness setting 2 out of 21, so it's barely bright enough to read a map in the dark -- a proper moonlight mode. I have the HiveLD driver programmed for a max setting of 1.2 amps, which works out to 41.4mA per LED, or 8.28mA per emitter die. I haven't tested its efficiency yet, but it should be pretty good with the power distributed across so many emitter dies, and it's still bright enough to illuminate an entire room by itself.

    So what does the beam look like on the highest setting?



    Very floody. What we often call a "wall of light" around here. Very different from the original intent of the Makai, but that's fine, because that means I'll actually use it on a regular basis. Where I live, there isn't much need for a thrower anyway. (though I did also get a 6V Makai XM-L, just in case I move to the country someday. )

    So there you go, that's my first flashlight project in a long time. I think it lives up to the name of Fyrstormer's Evil Labs.

    Last edited by fyrstormer; 12-02-2018 at 05:13 PM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Fyrstormer's Evil Labs presents: McGizmo Makai, Pointless Edition

    Nice work. I like the "layer-cake made of electronics and dead cow."
    "There ain't no bones in a hotdog" F. York.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Fyrstormer's Evil Labs presents: McGizmo Makai, Pointless Edition

    Looks fantastic !

    Did you consider Yuji's ?
    ... is the archimedes peak

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Fyrstormer's Evil Labs presents: McGizmo Makai, Pointless Edition

    That's freakin' awesome, Shawn!
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  5. #5

    Default Re: Fyrstormer's Evil Labs presents: McGizmo Makai, Pointless Edition

    It is a sort of sacrilege, but admittedly an interesting one. Is the Peak the highest quality 5mm cluster light produce in any significant number?

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    Default Re: Fyrstormer's Evil Labs presents: McGizmo Makai, Pointless Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by Thetasigma View Post
    It is a sort of sacrilege, but admittedly an interesting one. Is the Peak the highest quality 5mm cluster light produce in any significant number?
    Probably that, or the SureFire ....
    ... is the archimedes peak

  7. #7

    Default Re: Fyrstormer's Evil Labs presents: McGizmo Makai, Pointless Edition

    This is the most magnificent thing I have seen in a long time. I really need to finish my 17x5mm yuji P60 dropin.....
    Try the largest, fastest, most flexible flashlight search engine: parametrek.com
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    Default Re: Fyrstormer's Evil Labs presents: McGizmo Makai, Pointless Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by Thetasigma View Post
    It is a sort of sacrilege, but admittedly an interesting one. Is the Peak the highest quality 5mm cluster light produce in any significant number?
    Quote Originally Posted by archimedes View Post
    Probably that, or the SureFire ....
    Oh, and in addition to the various Peaks and the SF KL2 "showerhead" torch, HDS also had the Action Light, of course
    ... is the archimedes peak

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    *Flashaholic* fyrstormer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fyrstormer's Evil Labs presents: McGizmo Makai, Pointless Edition

    PhotonFanatic mentioned Yuji LEDs in a recent email conversation. He mentioned that Yuji LEDs have better CRI, but I went with the 5-die LEDs for two reasons: 1) I wanted the most lumens I could get, so it wouldn't be disappointing when I turned the light on, and 2) I already had them. The picture of my RC cars is pretty true-to-life, so I'm content with the CRI of the 5-die LEDs.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Fyrstormer's Evil Labs presents: McGizmo Makai, Pointless Edition

    Wow, fantastic build!

  11. #11

    Default Re: Fyrstormer's Evil Labs presents: McGizmo Makai, Pointless Edition

    This is like so forwards but backwards at the same time. I love it!!
    Who needs to see the light at the end of the tunnel when you have friends on CPF?
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    Default Re: Fyrstormer's Evil Labs presents: McGizmo Makai, Pointless Edition

    Wonderful work! What is next? You could have a career in the light building industry, however you would have to quit your job at the CIA.

    Really, that is some very beautiful work.

    All the best,

    NR
    Check my Web Site: www.Redwayphoto.com

  13. #13
    ven's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fyrstormer's Evil Labs presents: McGizmo Makai, Pointless Edition

    WOW That’s nothing but awesome , love it

  14. #14
    *Flashaholic* fyrstormer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fyrstormer's Evil Labs presents: McGizmo Makai, Pointless Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by badtziscool View Post
    This is like so forwards but backwards at the same time. I love it!!
    Yep! That's the idea.

    Quote Originally Posted by RedLED View Post
    Wonderful work! What is next? You could have a career in the light building industry, however you would have to quit your job at the CIA.

    Really, that is some very beautiful work.

    All the best,

    NR
    LOL, me at the CIA. I would go crazy in a day from all the regulations in a place like that.

  15. #15
    *Flashaholic* McGizmo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fyrstormer's Evil Labs presents: McGizmo Makai, Pointless Edition

    Cool mod! I like the leather touch. Any of you electronic whizzes care to comment on the use of this many LED's in parallel on a constant current driver? I assume that the greater number of LED's the less the impact on an individual LED based on variation in Vf. Is that correct? After seeing a single die in the Luxeon 5W LED's burn out supposedly due to Vf disparity I have tried to avoid stringing any LED's in parallel but I do see it done these days and in high current applications.
    Build Prices .... some mods and builds (not 4 sale) "Nature can be cruel- but we don't have to be."~ Temple Grandin

  16. #16
    *Flashaholic* fyrstormer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fyrstormer's Evil Labs presents: McGizmo Makai, Pointless Edition

    Thanks!

    Hypothetically, if you had one emitter die that was a magical superconductor and had zero resistance, all of the current would pour through that one emitter die no matter how many others were connected in-parallel. In reality, each emitter die has nonzero resistance, and that resistance increases as more current passes through it, assuming they are all kept at the same temperature of course. So the current gets split between the emitter dies according to the inverse of their resistances. The possibility of a thermal runaway in a single emitter die exists, but with so little current passing through each emitter die in this setup, the risk of any one emitter die overheating enough to lose significant resistance is minimal. One of the LEDs would have to be defective to begin with, in which case I'd need to replace it anyway.
    Last edited by fyrstormer; 12-03-2018 at 04:44 PM.

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    Default Re: Fyrstormer's Evil Labs presents: McGizmo Makai, Pointless Edition

    I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

    Congratulations on a confounding mod.

    eala

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Fyrstormer's Evil Labs presents: McGizmo Makai, Pointless Edition

    This is really neat. Awesome mod!

  19. #19
    *Flashaholic* fyrstormer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fyrstormer's Evil Labs presents: McGizmo Makai, Pointless Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by eala View Post
    I don't know whether to laugh or cry.
    (puts a point on the scoreboard for today)

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Fyrstormer's Evil Labs presents: McGizmo Makai, Pointless Edition

    I like it.
    Once things leave my hands I am not responsible for what happens.

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