Eight Level VIP Mod.

andrewwynn

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Apr 28, 2004
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Racine, WI USA
Formerly known as 'I coulda had a VIP-8'

one of the things i didn't like about one of my favorite lights (the VIP) was the DRASTIC difference in brightness between low and med.

The med was working very well for me for most things but burns the battery way too fast for just background lighting or reading a map in a car etc.. and the low.. who really needs 60hrs of runtime? it was just way too low for most of what i wanted.

So.. as Tim Allen would say.. "i rewired it".

The most difficult part was building the hex wrench to take it apart.. holy cow what size is that thing? I took a 0.050 hex and dremeled it down to fit.... after cutting off the Torx-3 i had made out of it years ago to swap the controller board on a laptop hard drive to recover the data after the laptop went through a flood.

The results:

movie says 10,000 words: click here (warning: 3.7MB)

here is a chart to help describe it:

vip8chart.gif


the current values are actually measured values.. they were spooky close to the calculated values. The lumen values are calculated based on lumiled's datasheet and derated for 'real world' temperatures.

the runtime values are 'best guess'.. using the mAH rating of the battery and de-rating for 'current abuse' on the higher levels.

On another note.. the kroll i had originally was defective.. i noticed that sometimes when i clicked it on on low that it was a different brightness than other times.. i could click a couple times and get it to be brighter for example.. well.. i was having a problem with it going 'blinky' on me really quickly.. like after 5 minutes of use.. it didn't dawn on my 'til after i did my mod when i measured the current before putting it back together.. and the high current was 723.. but after reassembling, the current measured like 630 and got 'blinky' right away.

I swapped the kroll with one destined for my groovy tester.. and wouldn't ya know it.. no blinkies on high beam anymore.. aaarrgh!

I had already treated the original kroll with pro gold.. not sure where the bad contact was but it was bad.. much happier now with the better (also treated) kroll.. and also VERY happy with the multitude of brightness choices i have on the low end so i can use VIP for a very handy night light w/o feeling bad about churning through $.

I had guessed the model/type of switched used on VIP based on the apparent volume inside w/o taking it apart first.. i was pretty close.. but my switch was a fair amount bigger.. i had to cut off about 2mm from one side to get it to fit... fortunately i didn't have to mill out any from inside the VIP.

My HAT {grin} is off to the assembly team.. they did a fantabulous job in all aspects.. first rate wiring, soldering.. i did get a kick out of the little piece of what appeared to be formica shimming the switch though. The design also is amazing.. it really made it a breeze to 'aftermarket' mod.. just like the design of my MM.. which takes some definite cues from the VIP of course.

Well.. that mod was just too cool not to share.. I know people think '3s enough'.. but picking those 3 can really be a pain.. now i can pick just the right level and with the separate dial (thanks mr b).. it's so convenient and friendly.

-awr
 

andrewwynn

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Joined
Apr 28, 2004
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Location
Racine, WI USA
The thing that i really wanted to 'hit home' with is... that i wanted to have some levels between med and low.. i've heard that 'med' on the VIP was supposed to last 3 1/2 hrs but the resistance level and corresponding amperage would lead me to believe it wouldn't last that long..

In any event..

9 lumen for 10 hrs.. or even 4 for 25.. i actually think those are conservative estimates.. the VIP driver is very efficient.

I already loved the VIP, now i like it so much better.

-awr
 

Illuminated

Enlightened
Joined
Oct 26, 2002
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886
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Tipp City, Ohio
Nice work!

Three levels is very nice, though I thought four - maybe five max would have been perfect. What's is it like having to choose from eight levels in actual use?

Thanks for sharing - John
 

andrewwynn

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Apr 28, 2004
Messages
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Racine, WI USA
there are a couple reasons it's 'eight' vs something else, just the parts i happened to found gravitated toward 8 being the easiest by far to build.. in actual use it works very well because you just treat the selector like the dimmer dial like you would a dining room light.. dial to the brightness you 'need' rather than picking the best choice you have to pick.

I memorized the estimated runtimes so i can dial to position 4 and know that's 6 hrs worth.. etc.. I usually leave it on level 4 and go up or down from there depending on the requirement.. I've only had the VIP-8 running for a day so far, but i do have the megasonic for about 10 months or so and it uses a log pot to control brightness and i really like being able to greatly extend the runtime based on need (that case, i get to dial up the runtime to 5 or 6 days straight).. i use it for 7+hrs straight plenty of times and get to do that a few times easily on one charge.

-awr
 

this_is_nascar

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Joined
Mar 29, 2002
Messages
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Location
Gloucester, New Jersey
[ QUOTE ]
andrewwynn said:
The thing that i really wanted to 'hit home' with is... that i wanted to have some levels between med and low.. i've heard that 'med' on the VIP was supposed to last 3 1/2 hrs but the resistance level and corresponding amperage would lead me to believe it wouldn't last that long..

In any event..

9 lumen for 10 hrs.. or even 4 for 25.. i actually think those are conservative estimates.. the VIP driver is very efficient.

I already loved the VIP, now i like it so much better.

-awr

[/ QUOTE ]

I agree with your love of the VIP. I share that same sentiment. The VIP driver is one of the best drivers I've ever seen perform. By the way, my 1st VIP yields 201-minutes of constant/regulated runtime in MED and the 2nd yields 221-minutes at almost the same brightness.
 

Amorphous

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Joined
Aug 29, 2004
Messages
605
Location
Garden State, USA
Andrew, that is awesome work with the V8. I would try to do the same on my new VIP with more linearity. (Dial 8 for 8 hours, and 4 for 4 hours, and so on ) Thanks for the sharing the idea.
 

andrewwynn

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Apr 28, 2004
Messages
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Location
Racine, WI USA
amorphous.. the current levels are just what i 'ended up with 'based on the components i stumbled into. It would take a whole lot more work to pre-determine the exact current or runtimes.

My replacement kroll had terrible resistance problems.. i did an overhaul today on it after i measured up to .7ohms.. manoman. and that one even had the spring soldered.. i think after i'm done with nanos i'm going to re-invent the kroll. maybe

The current levels are determined by a logarithmic scheme... so that brightness appears to be in even steps.

Thanks to George for being so helpful with the details about the VIP driver that i was able to remove the correct component to replace it with my parts.

-awr
 

andrewwynn

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Apr 28, 2004
Messages
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Location
Racine, WI USA
News flash.. my VIP8 became the VIP-R recently... I put in a UX1L emitter and a diode in series with the emitter so i can run my VIP from R23 batteries.. i get about 30% more light as a bonus... haen't done runtime tests yet but i traded the mega low dim level for the ability to have a range of brightness and 'virtually free' power.

-awr
 

Bullzeyebill

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Feb 21, 2003
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Location
CA
awr, I am glad that you like the R123 setup. Someday I will have to have that done to one of my VIP's.

Bill
 

andrewwynn

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Apr 28, 2004
Messages
3,763
Location
Racine, WI USA
it's a 'cake walk' mod... just need a tiny diode a UX1N emitter and an R123... or two..

Get protected 123s.. the ckt will pull the voltage down to unhappy levels if you use unprotected cells.

-awr
 
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