Custom Red/White Flashlight Build Help

Stefan Something

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Aug 23, 2023
Messages
8
Location
Canada
Greetings, been looking for a red/white flashlight, with decent output, that is small enough to clip onto the brim of my hat. It doesn't seem like anything exists that exactly meets my needs, so started to go down the rabbit hole of building one...

A bit of background, need a red light to use when flying at night as well as a light that is strong enough to do a walkaround of the plane. I end up in some random places so being able to use AA batteries in a pinch is important. Would like to wear it on the brim of my hat to stop carrying an extra headlamp.

The CREE XLamp XM-L Color Gen2 RGBW LED seems like it would fit my needs. Let me know if there is a better option out there?

Would you be able to point me to what parts I would need to build one:
1. What driver should I use?
2. What lens do I need?
3. What is the smallest flashlight host that would work with standard 14500 3.7v battery or traditional AA's?
4. Do I need any spacers?
5. Do I need anything else?

Thanks in advance for all the guidance!
 

clockwork

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Oct 3, 2023
Messages
7
Location
Germany
If you plan on using it while flying, diy may not be the best idear if you have limeted tools and technical knowledge.
I'd recomend you check out the rovyvon angle eyes E5, E6 and E7. The red light is only a side light, but that should work for most of what you've got to do while flying (based on my limeted time as a glider pilot student). They also take AAA batteries as a backup.

If you want to go the diy route: the driver and the housing will probably be the main issue. The CREE XM-L Colours come only on luxeon star pcbs or as the prue chips to my (limited) knowledge, so you'd end up with a large housing or you'd have to design your own pcb.
Concerning the driver: There is probably an andúril based led driver that can do what you want but I absolutly can't help you out on that one.
The alternative is to build it yourself with an attiny, a boost circet (PAM2803 would be a good chip choise) for the AA input and some step down chip in series to limet the current when you use a 14500 Lipo.

If a pure head lamp would also be fine, I can look for the name of one tomorrow, that has an rgbw side emitter in addition to a more spot like main beam, and can be dimmed to custom levels for all led chips (colour and main). I may not be able to take AA cells, ut you can recharge it via usb c.

But keep n mind, there may be better options, so also look for recomendations of other forum members.
 

jon_slider

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Mar 31, 2015
Messages
5,128
It doesn't seem like anything exists that exactly meets my needs
Your needs can not be met by just one light.

I recommend you use separate lights for inspecting the aircraft, than the red light you use in the cockpit at close range.

I would not recommed putting all your eggs in one flashlight basket. You should have at least two lights, one strong enough for inspection, which AA batteries are too weak to do. And a separate one for red light. Clipping a red light to a hat may be convenient, but that light will not work for inspections.

A light for inspections will be too big and too heavy for a hat.

Forget about trying to find a single light for all your needs. You need separate lights for separate scenarios. AA compatibility is a dead end. You can otoh, find 18650 LiIon lights suitable for inspections, with built in charging.

An off the shelf light that can have both white and Red, is the Emisar D2. You would need to wear it on a headband, for use in Red mode. It will not work clipped to a hat. And it is not strong enough to use the white light for inspections. It also does not have built in charging, and is not AA compatible.
looking for a red/white flashlight, with decent output, that is small enough to clip onto the brim of my hat.
there are no Red lights w built in AA/14500 charging.
here are some Red light options, they dont clip to a hat though
you can search that database for various feature combinations.
 

Stefan Something

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Aug 23, 2023
Messages
8
Location
Canada
Really appreciate all the great insights, tips and guidance @jon_slider and @clockwork

I think I'll probably stick with my separate headlamp and flashlight for now.

Will also try to get my hands on a Surefire Aviator and Emisar D2 to see if that could serve my needs.

Many thanks!
 

jon_slider

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Mar 31, 2015
Messages
5,128
Emisar D2
I EDC a D2 with a 660nm Red LED and 3500K White LED. I like it for close range use. It is literally two lights in one, with my favorite UI.

Some cons are, the 14500 battery size is rather limited in capacity if used at bright levels.. the highest sustainable output is about 150 lumens, which I consider inadequate for walkaround inspections, otoh more than enough indoors.. It does not have built in charging for LiIon, and does not work w AA.

The D2 includes neither batteries nor headband. They are available separately from other vendors, not from Emisar.

I recently became aware of a Headlamp with both red and white that might be worth considering: Wizard WR.. it is 18650 powered and might be sufficient for walkaround. It has built in charging.. (If youre ok w the size and weight, it could serve as a Red light in the cockpit)

I hope you find some options that work well for your needs.
 
Joined
Sep 16, 2020
Messages
962
How about a SureFire Aviator red/white model on a Malkoff 2xAA body? The stock body uses a CR123 and can clip to a hat. Carry the Malkoff body in case if AA is needed. The colors are switched by twisting the head, both colors start on low and can go high.
 

Stefan Something

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Aug 23, 2023
Messages
8
Location
Canada
Agreed 150 lumens is a bit on the low side. Even the 250 lumens of the Surefire Aviator is at the low end of what I would consider ideal. Thanks again for the ideas!
 

Monocrom

Flashaholic
Joined
Aug 27, 2006
Messages
20,001
Location
NYC
Yup, people get lumens confused with candela all the time.

Was taking a serious look at the Nitecore P10ix (4000 lumens).
Until a YouTuber tested it out. 4000 lumens of all wide flood.
Practically no throw! Didn't want that. Ended up getting their NH12S.
The newer 1800 lumens version of that designation.
Significantly less lumens but it can reach out to a good distance.
Unlike the "more powerful" P10ix.
 

jon_slider

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Mar 31, 2015
Messages
5,128
the candela spec on the Aviator LED model, does sound a lot higher than a High CRI HDS or Malkoff, at similar lumens.. The Aviator Tir must be making a very tight focused spot...

HDS High CRI 3,000 candela
Malkoff MDC High CRI 3,500 candela
Nitecore P10ix 6,250 candela
Surefire Aviator 9,300 candela
Nitecore NH12S 21,600 candela
 

desert.snake

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
May 8, 2017
Messages
2,064
Location
Eastern Europe
AA sucks, at least the alkaline ones, yesterday the temperature was only about +5 degrees Celsius and the Convoy T3 flashlight just started dying outside after 3 minutes on fresh AA, indoor brightness is restored. With lithium primary or batteries this occurs at a slightly lower temperature

jon_slider is right, you need 2 flashlights - a red/white headlamp for short range, maybe even something from Petzl or Streamlight Sidewinder, and something powerful for inspection on 18650

Malkoff very reliable and has a flashlight with a high CRI, but in my opinion the choice of LED is too yellowish

Since the point is to inspect the aircraft, it is advisable to have the highest possible CRI in order to notice leaks, like Emisar D4V2 and led E21A 5000K
1699772905597.png


SF Aviator is a good little flashlight, but the spot is really narrow, you might miss something

And what size is your plane? If it's some kind of Boeing 777, then I think you need to look towards very large and powerful flashlights + binoculars

And one more question, just wondering, is the inspection carried out by 1 person? As far as I know, in critical electrical installations and trains, according to the rules, inspection should always be done by 2, if the first one does not see the problem, then the second one will
 

Latest posts

Top